Traditions War: a pathway to peace

Chapter 7
Allentown History Conference


ALLENTOWN HISTORY CONFERENCE

 

 Audio and video tapes along with minutes. Held at Lehigh University in Eastern Pennsylvania. Organized by Billy A.: included Grateful Dave, Bill B., Betty Kinnon, Jim M., Danny W., Bo S. Grover N. and many others.

Lehigh U. had been the site of many large NA functions. We had an excellent meeting room and everyone was comfortable. The universite setting proved to be a quiet and condusive place for the history effort.

Hundreds of members showed up from all over the Northern states. The spirit and energy was good and members felt free to share the truth of their experience.

Unfortunately, much of this sharing was done on audio and video tapes and the video tapes got lost. The audio tapes are being duplicated by several members in different areas so that we will have copies all over.

[NOTE: In addition to our need to be clear and unambigious about names we have moved forward so rapidly that we will have a review form soon and so we put in only the last initial of  living members. - Ed]

 

History Literature Addathon 1990

Allentown, Pa

Tape One

Opening

 

 

Hello Family, my name is Grateful , and I am an addict. Hi Family. Tonight I am (Hold it down John). Tonight I am going to try to stimulate some questions in your minds so that you can ask some of the people that are going to be here a little bit later, to further elaborate on them. I have been called many things; one is an NA Historian and a policy expert. I have done a lot of research that has contributed to some of our longer‑term members talks on the history of this fellowship.

 

I am going to go before pre 50’s and just to say that the book of Organizations List of 1942 of Lexington, Ky. The formation of an organization called Narcotics Anonymous, and it does not bear any resemblance to the fellowship that started in Southern California.

 

There were a number of attempts to do something called Narcotics Anonymous in various forms, in Cleveland, in NYC, in Lexington and all of those efforts failed. There was a group that met in the Lexington Federal Detox down there and that is the earliest knowledge that anybody has as to the use of the name of Narcotics Anonymous. It was basically a group therapy session for ex dope fiends. They had put out this thing called The Key, which was a magazine, a little newsletter and when you go to look at the minutes of the formation of Narcotics Anonymous, which are here. You will see that it says our purpose has been taken from The Key and for a long time that was hidden because of the general obscurity of our documents of our formation. There was a group that operated in New York that was basically sponsored or helped along by the Salvation Army. They operated there from the mid 1940”s until 1952. At the beginning the formation of Narcotics Anonymous and the San Fernando Valley, California was that they contacted this New York organization and the New York organization said “ Hey man, we’ re doing our own thing and don’t want any part of what it is you’re doing”. So the Narcotics Anonymous that we are all members of evolved independently of that.

 

When several members and friends of mine were out in California went back to talk to some of the people that were around 20‑25 years ago. The story that we were told about the formation of Narcotics Anonymous is, is really interesting. There are several versions of how we got started, but the one that is most number if older members out there was that the H&I coordinator for AA in So. California besieged by a prison warden in So. California and asked “What can you do for these drug addicts”? The person said, “Well there is nothing we can do, you know there different and they don’t recover”. Well thanks to the persistence of this warden, he made the H&I coordinator promise that he would look into trying to do something. So what occurred out of that was he knew of a member that was involved and that was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, who was involved with a program called “ Habit forming Drugs” which was trying to help addicts , you know like the ones on the streets. To help them to get clean generally and run them into the AA Meetings. So what happened at the time was this member was kind of hand picked by the H&I coordinator from the AA Fellowship and other members whom this gentleman had knowledge of were picked to form or to try and form something that was independent of Alcoholics Anonymous that would help the addict. That became know as the AA / NA Group. Well that immediately caused some controversy, and this founding one of our founding members Jimmy K. who is now deceased. His wife is still living so I won’t , well you’ll probably hear all that Jimmy Kinnon as we have some tapes and videos and things like that of talks that Jimmy has given. Some of them the formation of our service structures, how that was formed and the discussions, and we will be looking at many things. Anyway, they called it AA / NA and this guy says we cannot use the AA name. Well of course, an uninformed group conscience then voted it down.

 

They wanted to keep the affiliation with the organization of Alcoholics Anonymous, so this member Jimmy Kinnon wrote them a letter and said, “Look we want to use, and these people want to use the AA name and attach it to NA and call it AA / NA. It was a letter written from the general service offices in New York stating without and gray areas that they would not allow Narcotics Anonymous to use the AA name. So this gentleman was vindicated and the first meeting to form the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous, by all the available documents, occurred on August 17, 1953 and the first Recovery Meeting was October 5, 1953. There are copies of the flyer for the first meeting here somewhere. This is not all in order anymore and a copy of the first White Book is here as well. I have all the original literature and stuff at home, but did not realize and I would have had to load up the whole car with stuff to bring it up here. . Here is the sign in sheet for the first Recovery Meeting. There were 17 members who signed in, there may have been more in attendance and here is the flyer “Starting Monday Night October 5, and each Monday hereafter at 8:30. So that is a little bit of interesting stuff about our history. A lot of the meetings at that time, there was like you know people were going to different peoples houses, they carried their coffee cups around with them and they called them “Rabbit Meetings”. That was because at the time addicts were being hassled a lot by the local constabulary, so they had to hide. Addicts were scared to come to the meetings because they felt that the meetings were staked out and they might get busted. That happened in New York. They tried to start NA related, to the So. California fellowship in New York. However, the Rockefeller Laws got them, so it was not until 1982 that the first meeting of Narcotics Anonymous was really allowed to exist freely in New York City. New York City today has at last count 1002 meetings a week, and they account for 1/20th of the total population of Narcotics Anonymous. So it has come along way, the power and the message of Narcotics Anonymous is what is most interesting to most of us I suppose. In 1953 to 1956 there was probably at the most 6 meetings that were going at any one time, and in 1959 for a period of about 5 months there were no regular NA Meetings held anywhere in the world. What happened was according to Jimmy Kinnon , one of his tapes was that Narcotics Anonymous had become affiliated with a treatment center and had become a “one man rule”.

 

They were not following the Traditions and so Jimmy K and a few other people decided that they were going to start it back up and get together and carry on and Jimmy K was the only contact knows around the country for Narcotics Anonymous for almost 32 years. He answered the phone and used all his money to Xerox literature talked to people on the phone night and day. He never wanted to be a Bill Wilson or a founder. He believed that he was just an instrument being used as apart of an idea in his service was service to God, and was service to the principles and it didn’t

matter to him . There were many stories of Jimmy K and a newcomer and a coffee pot for years. He would always go and find somebody and bring them into a meeting for years, and it was not until about 1956 that the first Narcotics Anonymous literature was printed. That was odd, odd reading version of what we call today the White Book. It is very different and unfortunately, I do not have it with me. It is interesting that the printing was done and then Narcotics Anonymous died.

 

So they started back up in 1959 and then they published another White Book without stories. The Board of Trustees was established in about 1965, and nobody knows for sure why except that it was felt that they needed a larger base from which to make their decisions, and by then the number of meetings had increased by that time to about eight or 9 meetings. In 1966, there were approximately 10 meetings they started. The two family members of the Magdalino family were feuding over wanting to retain the AA literature in the NA Meetings. There was a big resentment that occurred, interesting how growth correlates with conflict and resentments. They took and went up to San Francisco and started some NA Meetings up there, then there was another split, and the San Diego Meetings got started.

 

Tomorrow late, there will be a guy here who was around for the formation of the fellowship in San Diego who has about 30 years clean. Therefore, we are going on and we are up to about 1970, but in 1968 let me say that there was the “Voice of NA” newsletter printed and basically that was just to tell stories, share on events and it was published locally. I have copies of that at home and I am sorry I am just not real prepared. I do have copies of every World Service Conference, the minutes and fellowship reports, all the reports and literature up until 1985; I have the rest at home. I just brought this here with me because it is history and most of us know what happened from ’85 on, professional contracts and junk like that.

 

At any rate, they decided to o‑pen an office so the general service organization, they called the GSO and that was basically, what they had been doing the same old thing for years and years. Jimmy K had been answering the phones, putting out literature, detoxing members and new people from “Cry Help” and other detox and treatment facilities from around the valley, to help out and put things together.

 

So in 1970 we are up to about 20 meetings a week. Now, where were you in 1970? I know where I was, I was full blown on the streets of Haight Ashbury. So it is interesting that in 1970 that we only had about 20 meetings in the whole world. I guess this is significant because as we start to come up over the next 15 years we will see some interesting things that historically may just be a historical event, maybe no spiritual significance to it, but just the beginning of literature. Well along about 1970 or 1971 there started to be what they called a Trustee Literature Committee, where they started to write which was really a very small venture. They started to write literature with the folks who hung around the office. The office was run out of Jimmy K’s. house for years and years right up until 1982, late ’82. It was operated out of this mans house. We need to know, we need to know that there was somebody who had the commitment and dedication to Narcotics Anonymous. To sit there for 30 years when nothing was happening. I mean you know we find it hard to sit still for 30 minutes, we find it hard to to stay committed for 30 days. So I think we are looking at what commitment means. Yes, it is a Just for Today program for the rest of our lives.

 

 

The choice is ours, it has always been ours. So along about this time choices are starting to be made, somebody comes up with a bright idea like let us have a World Convention, so they had a World Convention in LaMarada, California in 1970 and that is at the 20th anniversary or there about…..NoNoNo, yeah we are getting close. The reason I say we are getting close is because we have tapes. We have tapes from the 20th and the 23rd anniversaries of Narcotics Anonymous in which some of the founding members speak and hopefully they will be available for you to either listen to or purchase at some point during the course of this Addathon weekend.

 

So they had a World Convention, I am sure it was very well attended, like maybe from what I understand. There were about 150 people there at the first World Convention and at the third there were about 300 people tops. Therefore, we are looking at Southern California and Northern California fellowships with no meetings outside of the state of California at this time, and that was that. I mean everyone knew one another; it would be like going to a convention in my home region in West Virginia. You know there are 250 or 300 people and you get to hug everybody. Therefore, everybody knew one another and generally, everyone was participating in each other’s recovery.

 

So between 1971 and 1975 they formed the 1st. Area Service Committee. They opened a World Service Office on Crenshaw Blvd. that did not last to long. From what I understand, it was just opened for a little while and then it reverted back to Jimmy K’s. house again. So we are talking 1972, there are probably 70 to 80 meetings in the world, and most of those meetings being in Southern California still. Along about 1972‑ 1973 somebody in Georgia got hold of a White Book and started some meetings down there. This began the fellowship on the East Coast. Same way it happened in Philadelphia. Philadelphia and Atlanta are the oldest East Coast NA fellowships; with interestingly enough I think Spartanburg, South Carolina and Keyport, Pennsylvania. Some other very non descript, oddball off the way places out of the way places got a White Book and started a meeting. Addicts were really hungry for something. AA at the time was not in competition with Narcotics Anonymous. They just said “You don’t share that shit in here boy” or girl and if you want to talk about that, you gotta go, and it is still that way today. In my home state in a lot to the rural places you do not go to an AA meeting, because they tell you “You don’t belong here”. Today there is an alternative, and some good people guide you to that alternative, which is Narcotics Anonymous. However, at the time addicts were kind of floundering around in a sea of nothing. It is as if you do not belong here, well then where do I belong. Well they say addicts do not get better, you are supposed to die, and that was the climate.

Therefore, we have had a struggle, and we have had to really fight for the existence of Narcotics Anonymous all throughout our history. That fight and that struggle are still occurring today in the emerging fellowships around the world. You look in reports from Columbia, Brazil and places like that. Wow, we think about 20,000 meetings and ¾ million addicts in the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous today. You spread that out on a planet of 6 billion people and you get an idea of the work there is to do. There is not anywhere on the face of this earth that the disease of addiction does not exist. Therefore, we really have a lot of work to do in quote, unquote evangelizing the world of Narcotics Anonymous. Therefore, that is why we need members to be connected today.

 

What was true 30 years ago will be true 30 years from now. We are just part of a legacy, of a wave, we are pawns and God is revealing himself through the principles and through

the power and majesty of our 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. In 1975 a member who had almost three years clean or 4 years clean at the time got together with Jimmy K and said “ Well why don’t we have a service structure”? So they started out talking about it and went through all the AA service structure stuff like that and came up with this document here called the NA Tree. This was our first service structure and it is really quite simple, it was quite efficient and quite effective, maybe we need to return to something that simple, it was based on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions.

 

The difference between our fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous and our evolution as a fellowship is in terms of our service structure. Now I want to make a statement here, that if you look at our Steps and Traditions, all of our steps and all of our traditions are about service. If you look in the front of the Basic Text, you will see what they call a service symbol and it talks about service. When we serve and attract more members, we attract the base of the pyramid, the more we attract the higher the sides, the higher the point of freedom, the higher we are able to go in our own personal recovery.

 

So our fellowship was found and based upon the 12 Traditions and Principles, our Steps and Traditions are all principles, our Steps and Traditions , out Traditions, our Steps, they all point in one direction, and that’s selfless service. That is reasons for serving other than for self. So our service structure and our fellowship are based on Principles of service.

 

Conversely, AA was founded as a marketing tool for the publication written by its two founding members that was called the AA Big Book. They started out and their entire organization and service structure was written differently and founded differently. Their fellowship grew as a result of marketing the Big Book. I mean if we are talking about history, we have to talk about history. There were parallel, their gross and things like that, which were going on, but its interesting to see at what point we begin the separation. That was Gods way of possibly making our message of recovery available to more people.

 

The Traditions were not written for 20 years. They were a fellowship for 20 years without the Traditions. The 12 Concepts of Service were written 12 to 14 years later. So their entire fellowship and their entire structure evolved from a different spirit, a different place, a different growth. I am not making a value judgment, certainly what they do works fine for them. One of the exciting things that come from being a member of Narcotics Anonymous is the creative spirit of God that has always been involved in our development.

 

We said necessarily that we need to be different, because we need to have a different identification. So people with multiple substance abuse problems and that are all it was at the time, it was not like the disease of addiction and the philosophy of the disease concept that is growing in acceptance of Narcotics Anonymous. It was more or less, as if you know it says in order to do H&I work in Narcotics Anonymous you had to be an alcoholic, a barbiturate addict or a narcotic addict. I mean that is right here. That was the requirement for being able to serve in the fellowship in the beginning. So it is interesting how the refinement of our message is beginning to exhibit itself.

 

We are finally gathering in numbers larger than ten at a time through the World Service Conference. That first World Service Conference, all the documents and information from that first World Service Conference is right here. That was bigger than the second one because they had the 2nd and 3rd ones in conjunction with the World Convention. They decided that was a mistake that everyone wanted to party, so the World Service Conference got off to a rather shaky start.

 

In 1977‑78, there was a person on the East Coast who will be here probably in the next 40 or 50 minutes that was scratching his head saying, “How come we don’t have a book”? And “Why can’t we have a book”? You know why do we have to keep scratching out the word alcohol in this Large Book (laughter). It is the puzzlement, you know a real puzzlement but the popular school of thought at the time is that addicts could not write. You know, I mean, addicts could not write. Addicts, using addicts, wrote some of our greatest literature. You look at Hemingway and Poe; I mean the list is endless. So the idea that clean addicts could not write is a little bit far fetched.

 

So at any rate we are getting to the point when there is a stirring in the breast of Narcotics Anonymous, a yearning for an identity. Now that we are seeing that, we cannot mature in the shadows of another fellowship. That we must begin to risk, we must begin to stand on the principles that we have been taught and that we have been listening to in our meetings. Okay and you can imagine the fear, the excitement, and the controversy from the very beginning of Narcotics Anonymous, and controversy is where we grow.

The first step is controversy in me when I walked in here and you told me that I was powerless over a disease called addiction. That I have to change my whole fucking life. I will tell you that all I thought was conflict (laughter). At my first NA Meeting, there was a fight in the parking lot over the AA Big Book and the Hazelton literature not being in Narcotics Anonymous. I said “What’s this about” and they explained it to me and I said “Alright, Yeah”. So that is how I came to Narcotics Anonymous, in the midst of conflict. Therefore, along about 1976, the conflict began this conflict between the past and growth, the past and the future and it ripped the fellowship apart. Because 99% of the people that were clean at that particular point in the history of Narcotics Anonymous got clean somewhere besides Narcotics Anonymous.

 

There were not enough meetings for them to do 90 in 90 in Narcotics Anonymous, even to the point of having to drive 75 miles one‑way two nights a week to get my 90 in 90.

 

Today recovery is so convenient, we say, “Oh well there is not a meeting in our neighborhood” (laughter) or “Oh well, it’s where I use to cop, you know people, places and things”. However, it is down in them ghettos in them war zones that the 12th Step is all about. That is where it is about, it is about going out where no one wants to go, and doing the work. That is what Narcotics Anonymous has always been and not anything else is the spirit of Narcotics Anonymous.

Its convenience, being comfortable bothers me. When I begin to get comfortable and people begin to tell me how comfortable, I am and boy, I feel great. When I hear it out in meetings, well I have been sitting around long enough in meetings to know that the people who are comfortable are out the door soon. Because if I am growing, there is always some internal conflict going, because I have to continue to step beyond the limitations of my present reality that is always a source of conflict. We are the creators in the group conscience; we are the creators of our own destiny.

 

If we rely on the past and are afraid of the future, then we will never grow as a fellowship. We have begun to reach that point in Narcotics Anonymous today. Where our growth in the United States has stabilized, whether people are saying we don’t need to do all the work or we don’t need to be involved in service, you know after all I have a home group and group conscience.

 

Our attitudes, our viewpoints have shrunk somewhat. When I got clean every single addict that walked through the door was a precious commodity. Every single addict that walks in the door today is still a precious commodity in the sight of God. So this is the spirit, this is the spirit that spelled our growth, the spirit that made people stand up and get punched in a meeting saying” We need our own literature, we need our own book”.

 

So I want to tell a little bit, but I do not want to take the story away from the guy who is going to be here to tell it. He went to California with three years clean and said, “Hey, Who’s working on the book, Oh Luke what are you doing about the book”? There was a guy there with a bunch of years clean and said “What are you gonna do about the book, what are you gonna do”? One of these days, one of these days, one of you are going to write. So nothing was happening so he hooked up with this other guy and they sat and talked about the book. The next year they came back to the World Convention and this guy that had said “What about the book, what about the book” says “I got 160 pages” and the guy said “I got to go take a shower”, so he said “Well I’ll go with you”…So essentially some little 3 year clean newcomer high on swamp gas from Georgia was basically responsible for a movement that changed the face of the history of Narcotics Anonymous.

 

Now everybody was participating in one way or another in that movement, but pointing fingers and saying “You guys are out of your minds…you’ll never succeed, you are destined to fail, this is self will”. Se it is the same old song, it is the same old story that has been used capriciously for years. But the text got written. You know how it got written? People had to hitch hike, they had to sell their cars, and they sold their blood to rent the typewriters, to buy the paper, to rent the facility. This was what was going on. Addicts died, addicts left NA saying, “Oh you guys don’t like AA no more, and there is so much controversy, I’m going back to AA”. Hey, you know that is just the way the cookie crumbles, you know what I mean. Some people were willing to stand on what they believed. Rightly or Wrongly you know and I respect people who stand on what they believe and are not blown by the winds of people pleasing and “ If I get someone to like me I’ll get a position” and all that.

 

I am trying to stimulate, so when these people share over the course of this weekend you will ask some probing questions. You will try to pull (grunting) pull that little extra effort out of yourself and out of the people who are standing at the podium and talking to you.

 

The 1st World Literature Conference was held in 1979 in Wichita, Kansas, right after the World Convention, and lit. People jumped in the car to get over there. I mean it was really a special time in Narcotics Anonymous.

 

I got clean about two months after the Basic Text was published, and the spirit of the fellowship at that time and the feeling that was involved in our services and the excitement that was spread far and wide, right across the face of Narcotics Anonymous brings goose bumps and rushes to me today.

 

So we are looking at the 1st World Literature Conference, we are looking at about 450 meetings in the whole world. Now it is interesting how the growth begins to accelerate at this point. When they got the Grey Book, I do not know if you have ever seen it, but it is like a big old book with numbers down the side and got some funny language in it and stuff like that. But it was the 1st Basic Text. By the time that was approved by review and input happened in Memphis... That Memphis copy was printed and developed and brought to the fellowship, there was 1100 meetings, from 400 in two years to 1100. Okay, we are going to watch, were going to watch this wild explosion of growth in Narcotics Anonymous, because hey maybe because we were starting to stand for something. Maybe we were beginning to breathe excitement and enthusiasm, maybe there were even more people who said” I ain’t going back there, I don’t have to; I can recover in Narcotics Anonymous... Look we have a book” and we have been working on this book. Boy, it was exciting.

 

So in, 1982 they had done all their work on the review and input, and they came out with this little tiny book about this thick, called the approved copy of the Basic Text. That was the first 10 chapters of the Basic Text, no stories, stories were put together later in the publication that was sent around. But in 1982 at the World Service Conference, they approved the, the approval copy of the Basic Text without stories. The stories were circulated after the 1982 World Service Conference and came in, they did not get a chance to go through the group conscience process but they were included in the publication of the Red Book, which was the Special edition. Interestingly enough in the Grey Book there was some language about the Traditions that was included and in the approval copy, that same language was included. That is what the group voted on and Wow interestingly enough when the Red Book came out their were stories but the language was gone. So that is why we had three editions of the Basic Text in a year. Three editions, the approval copy, the Red Book and the First edition. Before the conf3erence in 1983, they started to print the 2nd. Edition. The first printing of the 2nd Edition was done.

At the World service Conference in ’83, the fellowship showed out in mass. Why did you take that stuff out of the book? The fellowship went, and the conference went (Deliberate stuttering) (Laughter).

 

So they said let’s put it back in. So the 2nd printing of the 2nd Edition, ok they had paste over, they pasted the original Tradition language back in, in the 4th and 9th Traditions. In the 3rd printing of the 2nd Edition all without paste over. Well guess what, in the year 1983 we had four printings of the Basic Text. We had the 2nd Edition 1, 2, 3, then we had the 3rd and interestingly enough that “weird language was gone again. I mean you know at some point to go hmmmm, why bother. So you know they printed the 3rd Edition for the remainder of the conference. Here then in 1984 the 3rd Edition Revised changes were brought to the World Service Conference in form of a proposal be the Trustees to change the stories in the little White Book and to change the language in the little White Book. Okay so that went up for a year to the fellowship, all the groups in Narcotics Anonymous voted on these changes to the White Book. A motion was made {hey its here, its you know what I am telling you is all here}. OK in 1982, they were saying that Phil Perez who was the office Board of Directors chair at the time said, “Gee, there was a printing error”. We have heard that one before. You know between the approval copy and the Red Book and then there is other letters in there from the chairman of the World Service Branches. But the problem, the problem we found ourselves in today with literature is literature is money. The World Service Office did not have any money until we had a book, until we had a book. We did not have any meetings, if we did not have any meetings, people did not get clean. So we got a book. Now so from the book, from ’83 we got today there was 1,100 meetings, today we got maybe 22,000 worldwide. We have grown folks and with growth come growing pains. If you can remember how when you were growing up the knee hurt, or the elbow or something like that you know. We have to look at our fellowship kind of like a growing body. You know part of it grows faster than other parts, just like us, our own personal recovery. In our own personal journey of growing up to be adults. There are growing pains along the way; one thing grows a little faster. My gosh, you have to have a party to introduce your pants to your ankles about once a year. So I mean we must understand that with all of the growth that we are coming to, were going to have some problems. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the program of Narcotics Anonymous, I want to make that abundantly clear. Now the program of Narcotics Anonymous is the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions that is what the program is. The fellowship is a bunch of people you know and service outside of the group is service outside the group.

 

I think what the people in World Services were so hot about then or hot about today is because today the 4th and 9th Traditions made it very clear that our service boards, committees, offices, conventions, and fundraisers were not Narcotics Anonymous. There were other people that disagreed with that, but the Group Conscience said it was.

 

So here, we are today all these years later with the 5th Edition of the basic Text, and now current philosophy has it that the 4th Edition was approved, fellowship approved. No, the 4th Edition was not, it was never approved. The World Service Conference said no we do not want the 4th Edition. Not only did they say we do not want the 4th Edition, but they did not approve the 5th Edition either.

 

So we are talking about a rather checkered history, were talking about a lot of manipulation, were talking about a lot of control, and were talking about a lot of things that occurred in the course of our development that goes on underneath, away in the shadows. That you the general member, the person that goes to meetings do not get a chance to see, a chance to know, why. Ok that is the purpose of what we are doing here tonight, is for the fellowship to know. That is the reason for the history of Narcotics Anonymous, is for the fellowship to know. See because its not reality to say that everything that happens in Narcotics Anonymous is spiritual or hunkey doorey. You know it is just not real.

 

As an addict I am most comfortable with the truth, you know you take my dope and shoot ya(laughter). You tell me the truth and I can deal, but if you flim flam something up and make it real pretty and it’s more half‑truth and innuendo I am not going to be able to deal with it responsibly.

 

So part of the problem has been we have no accurate history. The good the bad and the ugly. If

you were wrong, it is highly unlikely that you are going to a forum such as this and admit that you are wrong. But until this occurs, until the truth is told for everybody there we’re never going to know the good things we did, the mistakes we’ve made , the paths we have walked down and ended up in blind alleys. The World Service Office has been offered all of the archives from the beginning, but they said if you give them to us, they are ours and we will do with them what ever we choose. Cannot do that with our literature you know. So I got right here like back in 1979 when people were begging for a literature to be written.

 

Here it is 1990, we are just getting started, and it is going to be great. We can sit around the table and listen to all of these old timers point fingers at one another and transcribe it all down, and put it out, and it will be beautiful. Because we will learn from that, and old‑timers quote, unquote will grow from that, There are people that were invited to this function that are not showing up here, not showing up because they like to do their deeds in the dark. They don’t want the truth told because it will make then look bad. But I have to deal with the truth in my life you know. Yeah that is right old Grateful Dave went and slapped somebody at the area service, boy he’s real spiritual (laughter). You know I got to learn what I got to learn, and I got to go through what I got to go through, and we got to go through what we got to go through, you know. I have been coming here to this area for five and a half years. I’ve been sitting on the porch down the street and I’ve been talking about Narcotics Anonymous. I have been involved with World Service and service to this fellowship since my second day clean. Second day I was in a group conscience meeting and fifth day clean I was in a regional formation meeting and my fortieth day clean I was in a World P.I Workshop. My seventieth day clean I was in a penthouse with Trustees and the World Convention Group. What is this all about, tell me this, tell me that. So service in Narcotics Anonymous is what it is, because without service we have no spirit. We have no soul, and with no soul we aint going to grow, and people are going to come through our meetings and go “This is a phoney baloney bunch”. You know talking a bunch of good sounding bullshit, giving each other thumbs up and saying, “yeah you sound good, right on man”. So we got to get down in the trenches and do some work, we got to try to quit trying to make everything so pretty. We got the truth, the truth is not always pretty but the truth will set us free.

 

There is a lovely lady that just walked in that is going to do the next section. She use to work at World Service Offices, she knows a lot of the old people. She has lived in California and as God has graced us with her presence here tonight. I have come to know this lady and I know she loves Narcotics Anonymous and I know she is dedicated. I know she is here because she wants the truth to be told.

 

So I have given you some things to think about and some questions maybe to ask over the course of this weekend and to ask yourself as well as the people who participate here. . But it all begins and ends in the Home Group and we are at the midnight hour and I have talked a lot. I could talk a lot more (laughter) and not repeat myself. Well I do not think that would be real fair. I will say you know it is one thing to listen to people who sound good you know and I know how to sound good, but what I am interested in seeing in my life is people that live good. People whose mouth lines up with their feet. If they tell you they are going to do something, you see them doing it. You know it is great to sit on the sidelines and point fingers but it is useless. Controversy is apart of life, a division of cells, the formation of the universe, conflict, conflagration. So I am looking forward to a weekend that will stimulate my desire to know. I have never been one that shrank from conflict, hopefully our fellowship will not and we will do the job, telling our history. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth because you cannot edit history and you cannot change history. We only hear one thing in our NA Media, what the NA Media wants us to hear….Good Night (Applause)

 

Please, please, we got time for a few questions. You will have to come to the microphone. We will not entertain any questions that are not addressed in line at the microphone. That will be rigor of the course over the entire weekend. I would like to say that I became a repository for information like a computer chip with about three years clean. I knew everything and could repeat it. You know but what I learned today was just stuff that I learned and stuff I can repeat. But I have done research on it. So kind of like with the Steps, the steps became something that came alive to me when I quit trying to sound good with them and tried to learn to live them. So let us have our future in Narcotics Anonymous. Are there any questions to the microphone?

 

Q: Hi, my name is Greg. (Hi, Greg) I found it interesting you were talking about the qualifications of service. Is there any history as to the efforts of the name change? To be changed when the progress became all in the addiction and the disease of addiction. As opposed to just narcotics in NA.

 

A: Yeah, several attempts have been made to alter the name of the Fellowship. But the name of the fellowship has so much history that there has not been any real serious or what you would say successful attempts to change the name. There have been splintered groups called Drugs Anonymous, Pills Anonymous in New York but they were not necessarily a splintered group of Narcotics Anonymous. They existed before the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous was able to be in public in New York. As soon as Narcotics Anonymous came busting in the World Convention there these other groups began to decline in membership and respect. Basically because they were so similar in their substance specific or symptomatic approach to recovery. Where Narcotics Anonymous approach top recovery is a holistic approach deals with the whole person rather than the symtomology and that makes our fellowship an evolving message unique today. It was not that way when we started out, it was very drug oriented. Did I get it all? There were addicts anonymous that was started a few times. It started out in Philadelphia with some disgruntled Narcotics Anonymous members. I know there have been other attempts as there was an addict in California, a couple of other attempts you know.

 

The question was, was there any attempts to form another fellowship. To change the name of Narcotics Anonymous to be more consistent with the approach to recovery. To be from the disease of addiction. In the past, there were some attempts to do that but there were not for that particular reason. Maybe in the future there will be other attempts that will be done for that reason. To more accurately reflect the exact principles in our steps and traditions. I do not know if I will be supportive of that, you know. I know too much about this fellowship and the evolution of this fellowship is exciting enough.

 

Q. I am an addict named Lawrence ( Hi Lawrence )…My question was that in your research have you run into or run across with any meetings or something’s that going sort of along as a meeting. As in ( ANDA) meetings? It is kind of like an AA / NA meeting. Have you run across an of that in your research.

 

A. ( laughter) As a matter of fact I have. Recently yet if you go in the northeast corridor in the large metropolitan areas you will find that (ANDA) is for the most part in these large metropolitan areas, except for a few of the old groups are very much ( ANDA) what we can call (ANDA) fellowships. And an also (laughter) in California and in some places in the northeast corridor and around in the larger metropolitan areas, Minnesota for example Narcotics Anonymous is an (ANDA) fellowship. That I think well points up rather clearly the phenomena of the message of the recovery in Narcotics Anonymous being more or less a southeastern, Southeastern United States and Midwestern effort. I think partially evolved because we were sent White Books and there was not a 25‑year sober guy hanging and saying “Well look this is really the way it is kid”. We had to figure out what recovery from addiction was and what the desire to stop using meant. Because we were rejected by Alcoholics Anonymous, but there are rows of competition between the fellowship on the East Coast. That said hey there ain’t no recovery over there, you got to come over here. We got into it too, we got into it too now, were not little” well you cannot go over there, sober hmm hmm hmm(laughter), and in California they just don’t have a clue(laughter) you know and they go wherever they go and it don’t matter…Really.

 

But it is interesting that the 1st purist movement in the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous started in southern California in the Los Angeles area. There were members whom our next speaker knows that were completely, what we would call today, pure NA members. They talked clean, they only went to NA Meetings, and that is really marvelous. You know we have a heritage of purism in this fellowship.

 

Q: Who gets the money (laughter)? What are their names and who determines that our money is used to build buildings instead of putting out more books and who determines the cost of our books and our literature?

 

A: (laughter) Well lets see they have not changed the price of the Basic Text since 1983, so that particular price was set along time ago. Obviously, you and I up until the present have not been able to determine the price of our literature or where the money goes. (sigh) ( ) how to explain this in the short form. Most addicts see World Service as being one entity and their not. We have the World Service Office, which is a corporation that is producers and holders of a fiduciary relationship for our copyrights, which means that they are held in trust. They are the ones that print, publish and distribute our literature. Well that has not always been the case. Before areas, regions and groups printed, developed, and distributed literature and that similar to a grass roots type of thing that is going on today. The money goes to the corporation. Whether the corporation is using that money in a what that we as a fellowship feels is responsible or not is a matter for great study and debate and for conscience both individual and group. But knowledge is the forunner of making a decision. The volunteer service structure has a gross income last year of $280.000.00 , the corporation had an income of 5 million that is basically generated from the sale of our literature in which 43% of all total volume of the sales is sold to outside enterprises. Outside of the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous, Hazelden and Comcare purchase their literature at $5.23 for a Basic Text where as the New York Regional Service Office pays forty cents more. So our office is selling the literature 40% to 43% of its funds to outside vendors cheaper than it is selling to the fellowship.

 

It costs about a quarter of a cent to produce to produce the Triangle of Self Obsession, and it costs you about 13 cents. It costs half a cent to produce a key tag and about 26 cents to produce a tape, twenty cents for a medallion $1.47 for a Basic Text. You get the idea that is where the money goes. We have expanded the World Service Office in the past two years from 18 paid employees in 1987 to a current staff of 48 fulltime employees. Everywhere they go, they go on airplanes, they have credit cards, expense accounts and maybe that is something we want to do and maybe its not. Because our 9th Tradition says that, we may create service boards and committees directly responsible. The flip side we may not create them or we may UN create them or we may modify the relationship of special workers to the service structure. But until you know, know what I mean. It’s the getting bad dope when you were first getting high you know, you thought it was great until you got some good and then you didn’t want anything else. It is like so really the fellowship owns everything. You everybody in this room own the copyrights, they are yours, they are ours, every staple every chair you know. So it is up to us to know what to do with it (Audience laughter) no simple answer to it, no short answers to any of these questions.

 

Q; How would you suggest that the fellowship at large organize to demand and accounting for monies and direct impact on some changes. That us the fellowship at large would want concerning the areas of copyright, new material, impact of the material, selection of officers and find out what the basic requirement to be a member of this committee is?

 

A; Well, there is a number of things we can do. Since 1982, we have been going to the World Service Conference as a block asking for dialogue, and accountability. There has not been the accountability or allowance of any substantial or significant dialogue as to the pertinent issues that you raise, the questions you asked.

 

This World Conference was the worst in memory, I mean depending on where you sit. I mean if you sit on the World Board Committee they got everything they wanted. If you look at the fellowship the news, line the NA Way I mean you know you can see. How the truth and the RSR and people who were at the World Service Conference how the truth has been manipulated to make people who want to engage with such discussion as you put forth in the question appear to be zealots, hitlers out to destroy the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous. With no reason to you know, I mean that is what our NA media has been used for. It has been to isolate us from one another. The world Service Conference in here they told us that they said the regions on the east Coast made 150 motions; well we made less than thirty. The actual truth so the point is they aint listening. They want no dialogue, what can we do?

 

It is called Grass Roots you know, go to your Home Group, discuss these things, make a decision on what it is you would like to do you know. I mean we can try to continue to try to work Quote, unquote within the structure, which I support entirely. But there are other things that we can do that are not necessary entirely within the structure, as we know it. As it exists that, we can do. I see some of that in your bag; you know I mean you want cheaper literature and cheap Basic Text, “Print um that’s all”.

 

Send a message that we do not like it, they aint going to listen to nothing but the pocketbook. I’ll tell you that they have spent 15 thousand dollars of your money sending legal cease and desist orders around the fellowship in the past thirty days, federal expressing apologies because at $14.00 a pop because of that so you know the hand is on the nuts, if you want to put your hand on and squeeze a little bit maybe we can change something.

 

Q: Hi I’m an addict, my name is Arlene.(Hi Arlene).. I am confused you said that the 4th and 5th Edition are not WS approved. Am I correct ,ok. What is , why do we use it or I mean is that why we use it. I mean is that why we use it because they didn’t approve it and its what we want?

 

A: That’s a good question, why do we use literature that was not approved by the entire fellowship. I don’t know, I mean that’s a question to discuss in conscience. If you look and you research the history of the members of the WS Conference you will see that the 4th Edition, because that is why we have a 5th Edition, but they never voted to have another edition of the text. There was a discussion, which is in plain document for everybody to see that substantiates what I say. So what they have done is sold you a book that was professionally edited and made presentable, with a glossary put in tit so it would be palatable for treatment centers. If you take and compare the 4th Edition Revised with that edition, they take out some very controversial statements about recovery from the disease of addiction. And we need to have more money and more literature, and let us do it faster and better, I mean you are asking me, I am telling you, you know. That is a matter for you to go home and say, well look you know. Give us somebody who has the information I mean lots of people can talk, and lots of people talk real good, and are persuasive but if they cant back up what they are talking about don’t listen to them.

 

(Audience) In the book here, it says that this is NA Conference literature, and it says NA in the NA Way are regular trademarks of the WSO. What is conference approved literature, I mean are all the pamphlets we have, are those all conference approved or WS approved? Some say this, some say that.

 

A: The WS Conference is a group of 75 votes that may or may not reflect the wishes of the fellowship. The fellowship is the Home Groups and the conference is the conference. We gave the conference approved logo stamps for all our literature from the very beginning when we got a conference. We had literature before see, so you know the question is whether conference approved is fellowship approved, or whether its conference approved, because there is a lot of things that happened on the floor of the WS Conference, that do not coincide with what you and I believe or do in our Home Group. We say that is Group Conscience and move that up. You know a lot of things happen, quick fixes, people think they know what is best for NA, on the floor of the WS Conference and they just act in a lot of people’s views capriciously.

 

(Audience) I know when I read the Basic Text some of it is not very palatable to me. It is very hard for me to concentrate because I can not relate to a lot of it. You know this is my opinion, when you get into something like this I can relate to something more like this, you know rather than the technical jargon. Even though I am in the medical profession that does not matter, you know. Its still something that I want one on one and I guess that something that comes back to what can we do, you know. Thank you

 

Q: I want to thank you for the NA History. I heard the tape you did in Florida about the checkered past. Our Basic Text had a few other things , its always nice to learn a few things but you know like again maybe you can give me some history, maybe like why WSO , WSC, or what our service structure has done right, because all I am hearing is what they do wrong. Maybe you can shed some light on that.

 

A: Well our Service structure from the very beginning has been there basically to answer the telephone. Right now, that is what the WS Office does real well. They answer the telephone real well and they ship literature pretty well, most of the time. They disseminate information and they refer calls to PI and things like that. They do that stuff pretty well, I guess it is the nature of the nature that we all have. It is like when things are working real well we don’t want to fix it, you know. Its not the things that are being done you know that are correct, that need fixing, or maybe even so much discussion. There is a lot of good that has been done by the WS and it is still continuing to be done by the WS. It is not those things that need to be changed.

 

 

Tape Two

Allentown Addathon 1990

Fawn‑ speaker

 

(un‑ clear beginning) NA World Services work right away and I resigned in ’82, after a series of things happened I just decided I didn’t want to be apart of it anymore. So I not only resigned from service but I moved out of California ( laughter) and I came out East and I’ve been very happy and stayed clean ever since. So I really am not, I have not stayed active with World Service since 1982. I hear stories, and I hear things and it has changed so much that it is overwhelming at times to get a clear understanding of what is going on anymore. It would be nice to see it all come together and make sense again. What I have done, or what I did a few months ago was I put together, as best I could a history of NA from Jimmy’s notes and tapes. I was a very good friend of Jimmy’s, I also spoke with his wife, a few of his other friends, and I put together a history. It is not complete but I think I would like to share it with you because I think it might give you a picture of what NA use to be like and you will see for yourself how much it is grown and how far we have come.

 

You know about a month ago I was asked to go up to Massachusetts to give a NA History, a big NA History function they had and it was really pretty funny. My girlfriend and I flew up there, the flight was about 45 minutes, and we drove around in this addict’s car for about three and a half hours. He was trying to track down his ex‑wife and his kids and at one point, we had three addicts in a car, three children and two cats, it was really wild. Because that night in a room about this big it was a history workshop on the region, the area up there and then the history of NA. I was the last, I had all of this wonderful information, I had all of these archival knick‑knacks you know, and I invited people to come and look at them. The only question anybody has was “Who gets the credit for the first meeting in their area”? During the dance what happened was shuffling all my papers together and going back to my seat I dropped one of my, one of my original copies of the first white pamphlet on the floor and I did not know it. So in the middle of the dance, on a crowded dance floor some girl comes up to me and she goes Hey is this yours. So you know it was an experience for me you now but maybe people were not ready to hear it and I don’t think it was just like being in the twilight zone.

 

It is good to be in a room where the people are familiar with some of the issues anyway. So what I will do is since I was not here in 1953, I mean I was born in 1954. I had to write this down so I want to be a thorough as I can with the information that I have. Betty, Jimmy’s wife you know has invited me to come out and sort through file cabinets and file cabinets of stuff that she has this simmer. I hope to get out there and help her with it but, so you guys want to hear this, then when I get into NA I can sort of adlib it a little bit.

 

Prior to August of 1953 and before NA as we know it came into existence; there were organizations and groups throughout the United States who were trying to do something for drug addicts. Many of you might have heard about many of these groups. The programs in Louisville, KY and New York City were started by concerned citizens, prison officials, the Salvation Army volunteers, and even the D.A. Some of these groups adopted the 12 Steps of AA and some made variations to the 12 Steps and inserted new language of their own. However, these groups and organizations bare little resemblance to the structure and meaning of the Narcotics Anonymous we have all come to know. During the 50’s in the southern California area groups known as HFD groups, habit‑forming drugs were scattered throughout and there was a group that called themselves Addicts Anonymous. However, these groups eventually died out for many reasons. Two of the reasons in particular were that they did not abide by the 12 Traditions that AA were using, or they were considered to be run like a one man show.

 

The NA in New York City that started up in the 1950 has published a pamphlet for drug addicts entitled “Our Way of Life and introduction to NA”. This pamphlet was printed at the Rikers Island print shop and in this pamphlet; there is an excerpt that reads, “The National Advising Council on Narcotic Inc., a group of civic minded citizens sincerely interested in this problem, function as a Board of Directors for Narcotics Anonymous. The function of the board is to direct, guide and coordinates Narcotics Anonymous Groups. Obviously, this was not the birth of NA, as we know it. If you call the World Service Offices today and ask who Jimmy Kennon was, you will be told he was a nice man who helped NA a lot. But the truth is our history begins with him.

 

For years he was the first and sometimes the only NA voice many addicts all of the world heard. He could touch people and give them hope like they have never had before. There was something very magical about the way Jimmy carried the message. When people got close to him, their natural inclination was to recover. Jimmy K was three years sober in Al‑anon and very involved in what was known, or what is still known as the Radford Clubhouse of AA in Studio City, California. He was on their Board of Directors and was very involved I service work in AA. Jimmy by trade was a roofer and very often did roofing work for the clubhouse. Jimmy and other AA members would go down to skid row to 12 Step the alcoholics. When they were doing work with addicts, however they observed that addicts were not identifying with what they were talking about. Jimmy was quoted as saying that one kid in particular told him, I just cannot buy this stuff, I am not an alcoholic. Others felt the same way, the people Jimmy made friends with were addicts like himself. So many of his friends were dying. Jimmy and his fellow 12 Step callers knew the addict they were trying to help were not making it. He knew there must be a way of adapting the steps to other specific causes. He heard about a guy called Danny Carlson who ran a program, but the program wasn’t the same. They were not anonymous and they admitted they had problems with hard‑core drugs. He thought then that there should be meetings for addicts, because addicts were still dying despite AA’s message for recovery. Jimmy learned that AA could not do all things for all people and that most importantly the 12 Traditions had to be adhered to.

 

A committee was formed in June or July of 1952. Jimmy and four other people met at a member’s house and tossed the idea around. However, the committee eventually died out. In June or July of 1953, a committee formed and met every couple of weeks to try to formulate what they were going to do. There was a commitment to get something going; they decided that they wanted to follow a format like AA because AA was a winner. But it was not working for addicts.

 

Jimmy was elected chairman of the committee and they immediately vetoed, voted down two things he suggested. One being that the groups not use the AA name and two being to adapt AA Traditions. One of the first things to occur was naturally an argument. An argument over what were going to call ourselves. It was agreed that it would have to specify addiction and not one particular drug. Drugs Anonymous did not sound right cause who wanted a program called DA, yet Narcotics was more understood. We could not call ourselves Addicts Anonymous because that would infringe on the AA name. The committee wanted to call it AA / NA. Jimmy informed the group that they could not call themselves this because it infringed on the AA name. Yet the group decided that, that was what they wanted to be called. Jimmy knew that at least they were off to a good start performing in a group conscience like manner. Doris called AA Headquarters in New York and AA informed them that they could not call themselves AA / NA as it implied affiliation with AA.

 

Nar‑anon was another suggestion but that was something dianetic, a sciencetology thing. Eventually the name Narcotics Anonymous was agreed upon. On August 17, 1953 the by laws were drawn up outlining what Narcotics Anonymous should be about. The first paragraph of those laws stated 1, This society or movement shall be know as Narcotics Anonymous and the name may be used by any group which follow the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous.

 

The first meeting of Narcotics Anonymous was held at member’s homes. One of the members Scott K. had a meeting at his house on N. Chandler Blvd. in North Hollywood, California. Eventually booklets that were printed up were kept in Scott’s garage in back of his home. Some of you might have seen that floating around; I have a copy up here if you would like to see it. The first established NA Meeting was at a church at the corner of Cleburne St. and Kintara St. in Sun Valley, California. It was held every Monday night and was referred to as the dad’s Club and run by the Salvation Army. A hand made sign with the letters NA was placed outside the church. Jimmy would stand outside by the front door; cars would slowly creep by and then tear down the street. It was obvious that outsiders were not quite sure if the church was staked out. At that time Jimmy approached the police department and informed them that of their intentions to meet. Because back in those days it was a felony to just be an addict. Up until really pretty recently, I know in the 70’s it was still a felony at that time. The police dept. assured Jimmy that there would be no surveillance at any of the NA Meetings.

 

A small electric stove was purchased to make coffee. Back then, nobody had any money and mugs were schlepped from meeting to meeting because there was no money to buy paper cups. Jimmy and another member would go to the jails and institutions to carry the message of Narcotics Anonymous. Later however that member thought it would be ok to charge people a fee for lecture services. Jimmy said that was unacceptable and could not be done. That member eventually went back to AA. Because NA was, so new many people were struggling for power and saw themselves as leaders.

 

The meeting moved to a location on Stagg Street, a lady named Doris was apart of our original committee and Frank and Doris had a machine shop inside of their home. Barbara, Tommy and Paul were also names of members of the original group. Doris typed the formation of the first meeting minutes. The meeting stayed at a church for about six months and then it was moved to a place known as Shyer Dryer in North Hollywood. This was in 1954‑55 and 56. The building was originally the North Hollywood Lodge and Sanitarium and the owner Dr. Shyer. AA Meetings had been meeting there since 1951 or 52. Dr. Shyer gave permission for Narcotics Anonymous to hold a meeting there once a week. There was a small parking lot there but only five or six people could fit there comfortably at one time.

 

There was some conflict with the Traditions at that time and Jimmy did not attend any meetings there. Meetings were held there for quite some time, then Shyers Dryer was to undergo some remodeling and the meeting moved to another sanitarium, I guess those were the only places that wanted us, on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City. When the remodeling was completed at Shyers Dryer, the meetings moved back to that site.

 

By 1954, there were 12 to 15 people attending the meetings and by 1955, the number went up to 18 to 20. There was always talk of starting up more meetings. Most people went to one NA Meeting a week and then to AA and other therapeutic groups. Society in general did not really believe that addicts could stay drug free.

 

The word addict was no longer a dirty word anymore and more and more was being done in society to help addicts. 12 Step work was done in groups because people did not want to go alone on a 12 Step call because they thought they were going to use. Recovery was getting a little easier since more addicts were working. So by this time those were the only two NA Meetings in the world. Shyers Dryer and the sanitarium on Ventura Blvd.

 

In 1958 what was to be known as the mother group started at the Unity Church on Moorpark St. in Studio City, California. The group eventually known as the Architects of Adversity Group, a fifth and tenth step meeting. Another meeting sprung up at Magnolia Blvd. behind a store. There was a small apartment where a member named Bill W., no relation to Wilson lived. Eight members met there for a brief period of time where they would sit around on the bed or on the floor. By 1959 NA had folded, people had either died, gone back out or went back to AA; additionally groups were not abiding to the Traditions.

 

One night Jimmy Kennon and Sylvia Wexworth were sitting at the kitchen table again and wondering what to do because no one was coming to the meetings. Jimmy and Sylvia were the only two left. In tears, Sylvia said what are we going to do. Jimmy looked at her and said I don’t know what you are going to do but I am going to start over again and this time we are going to start living by the Traditions.

 

In the beginning of 1960 with about four members, NA started up again. In the mid 60’s a meeting held at a duplex apartment that Jimmy’s brother rented out in Studio City. Regular members of that group were Jimmy, Pepe, Scott, Doris and Danny. In 1961 Penny K. author of “I can’t do anymore time” in our little White Book came into NA and eventually held a meeting in her home in North Hollywood. Jimmy’s home was the first hotline to helping addicts in a small room, which was initially his roofing and painting office. In the mid 60’s Jimmy put together NA’s first pamphlet. An eight‑page pamphlet for distribution. Jimmy heard there was an NA Group in New York, this group was contacted but even though they called themselves Narcotics Anonymous, they were into a different sort of thing. Although they had the same name they did not fashion themselves after Narcotics Anonymous. They accepted donations and funds from the government and they openly admitted they were not like us. They informed the group in S.V. that they did not wish to join our club. They wanted to be a separate entity.

 

The first Board of Trustees was formed in 1968. Chuck S. was the first member of the board after Jimmy held the position since NA’s beginning. The first World Service Office was set at a place called the Crenshaw House in Los Angeles. However, two organizations were now operating under one roof. The work was not getting done. The WSO was then moved to the Suicide Prevention Center, but two programs were getting mixed up and confusion arose. ( laughter) The literature was not getting mailed out and there was theft. There was no consistency. The office then moved above a Bail Bonds office on Van Nuys Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley. In order to work in the office someone would have to run down every half hour and put money in the parking meters. The rent could not be met, and it was at this time that Jimmy K moved the WSO to his home in Sun Valley.

 

Up to that point the WSO consisted of one tiny box of records, one beat up couch and one filing cabinet, the borrowed desk had to be returned. He answered the phones day and night and took care of the mail. The few people who had volunteered were expected to work, I mean work. Everyone was motivated by him, the office acquired a used typewriter, used file cabinet and other outdated office equipment, like scales, staples etc. Jimmy and his wife Betty would go out to yard sales and go through trash dumpsters for things they could use at the office. Cardboard boxes were collected from behind stores to be used for shipping, paper bags were cut up and used to wrap literature and tapes. The percentage of the working volume at the office were newcomers, and every penny was put back into the office.

 

Now understanding that our organization started in 1953 it was sad to admit that in 1972 there were still just a few meetings around the world. That is not a lot of growth for any organization. For the first time, though there was some stability and consistency for NA through the WSO. In 1960, Jimmy K wrote, “Who is an Addict”, and in 1960, Jimmy K wrote, “What is an NA Program”. In 1960, Jimmy K. and Sylvia W. wrote, “Why are we here”? The second half of “How it Works” in our NA pamphlet beginning with, this sounds like a big order, was written by Jimmy K. In 1960 Jimmy K wrote “Recovery and Relapse”, and in 1961 Jimmy K wrote “We do Recover”. Jimmy K also wrote “Another Look”, which was also revised by him in 1983. In 1962 Phil P wrote “One third of my Life” and in 1962 Penny K wrote “I can’t do anymore Time”. In 1962, Garrett wrote “Vicious Circle”. In 1962, Bob B wrote “Something Meaningful”. In 1976, Greg P wrote, “I was different”. In 1976, Betty K wrote “Careful Mother”. In 1976, Bill B wrote “Fat addict”. Our prayer my gratitude speaks when I care and when I share the NA Way was written by Jimmy K.

 

Our symbol was designed by Greg P. and Jimmy K. There is a real touching story behind our NA Symbol. Jimmy K was in the hospital with TB and it was there in his hospital bed that he carved what is our symbol into a piece of leather. It had a gold background and it was carved very deep. It was a circle with a diamond in the center with NA inscribed in the middle. Prior to World Convention NA had what was known as anniversary dinners? A tape is available of the 20th anniversary dinner of NA, where Jimmy K and Jack Whaley who was then the chairman of the Board of Trustees spoke. Back then, everyone went to both fellowships, AA and NA. The significance of this tape however is a revolutionary idea that addicts could recover in NA. And the NA was separate from AA. At the 6th World Convention of NA held at Ventura California, the first World Conference was held. You know that may not be right, I guess it was 1976 so what year was the Ventura. Well something was held in conjunction with the World Convention.

 

That conference established an Ad‑ Hoc committee of elected representatives of the fellowship to review and revise the service structure that had been proposed for NA called the NA Tree. The NA Tree was NA’s first service structure, which was devised by Greg. That ad‑hoc committee presented the results of their labors to NA’s first independent World Service Conference held Van Nuys California held in the spring of 1978. The conference accepted that work and the many other suggestions that come in and turned all over to the newly established World Service Literature Committee for finalization. The service manual of NA was presented to the conference in the spring of 1979 for approval. I was 30 days clean in 1978 when I first met with Jimmy K. in his home. I was taken back by his strengths and devotion towards NA. I use to always say you may not become a spiritual giant in NA and you may never come out with more than five cents in your pocket, but you will learn how to think for yourself.

 

If you made a commitment to NA, you would learn how to stand up on your own two feet and think for yourself. Most of all Jimmy loved freedom and if you listen to tapes that he spoke on, he always talked about freedom in such an inspiring way.

 

As I said earlier, very early on in our history, people were vying for power, but nobody really wanted to work. Even in good old California where it all started, personalities shaped areas and regions. Southern California and Northern California could never agree on anything. The San Fernando Valley and the Bay Area, the Bay Area not being San Francisco but its like a beach community like Santa Monica or Manhattan Beach, all around inside of LA were always squabbling about one thing or another. Clicks would form, people who were still un‑recovering, thinking they knew something.

 

In 1976 at the World Convention in San Francisco, California, a very funny thing happened. World Conventions were always held in California because where else were they going to be held? So every year it was the same thing, you know you would have Northern California getting up to the and back then they determined where the next World Convention was going to be. They would all sit in a room on Sunday in the big auditorium and vote by hand where it was going to be. So that is how you would know where it was going to be the next year. So Northern California and Southern California were the only two who would ever have a bid to propose to the convention floor. They would give their fancy smancy proposals. You know the Holiday Inn, filet mignon and all this, and then Southern California would get up with another fancy proposal. So this is the way it would go, then in 1976 out of the blue this young girl from Houston Texas gets up to the mic and says, Well I don’t have a proposal but we really need Y’all in Texas. It was so weird man because you had like, what the chairman decided to do was , oh everyone from Northern California get over here on this side and everyone from Texas stand right in the middle.

 

So there are a lot of members who do not really give a shit you know where it was going to be. But they were moved by this girl from Texas, she had nothing but she thought from her heart you know. But northern and southern California you know God forbid if you take it out of California that’s the end. So the room split up, Northern California was pretty matched 50/50 but there were ore people for Texas down the middle and then what happened next after that was hilarious. They started at one another right, come on what are you doing, we have to stay in California, come on Northern California would say yeah right well you comer over here, you know like they did not want to budge. Even this one dear friend of mine Danny who is this big biker with long hair a Chicano guy. He had a lot of time in the program. He stood up on a table saying Chicanos over here; you know it was like a madhouse. Because of their refusal to budge and come together, because one, some people were screaming lets just keep it in California, if we united we can stay in California. Well because of their refusal to compromise, Houston got it. You should have seen the stunned looks on everybody’s faces, even mine I was like Oh my God. So anyway, it was a good thing though because wherever the World Convention went after that NA tripled. I mean the convention would bring, after the convention were over dozens hundreds of meetings would start up in cities. That is pretty much the way it happens when NA, a World Convention comes to a city. Maybe now I think what happens when a convention goes to a city is that there is a re‑commitment or a desire to commit to Narcotics Anonymous. I have seen that happen.

So NA grew, many people called Jimmy a rebel, he never had a problem with saying no, its wrong or we cant do that, it isn’t right. He never believed that any one person or group should run NA. He was not afraid to tell anyone who came along with some good smelling horseshit that, that was what it was. So needless to say, he made some enemies along the way.

 

While we were all squabbling about our major differences in the area level in the San Fernando Valley, Jimmy reached out to members all over the world. In Canada, Australia, Germany Guam, Great Britain Scotland and Ireland. Jimmy whose son was stationed in Germany provided literature to the Army Bases there through his connection as an officer. He had literature sent to Viet Nam.

 

One of the most memorable moments when I worked at the World Service Office was the day that we got a letter from New York City from Terry. It was the happiest day because you know as many addicts as there are in New York City, it was one of the last cities to really get it together and happen, and that was in ’81. He made contact in new areas starter kits were sent out from the WSO and he was there for people when they called and hoped to hear about NA as a program. How NA could help them or their area.

 

Like I said the WSO use to be in his house, a bunch of us would go over there on Tuesday and Thursday nights and those were some of the nicest nights in my recovery. I was very new in recovery but I felt such apart of and it was an atmosphere of love and respect because we were all working for nothing and we were all doing it because it made us feel good. Jimmy had a modest little home, he collected books, and he loved to read. There were knick‑knacks everywhere because Jimmy and Betty collected them. He lived across the street from an airfield and despite the noise and pollution; beautiful flowers and birds were always in his yard. I think you are going to be shown a tape tomorrow and you will get an idea of what his house looked like. There was a filing cabinet a used typewriter were in the mudroom, the literature was stored in a backroom, the dooping machine that we used to doop tapes for the NA tape library was kept in the living room. It was really hard getting an NA tape back in those days because everybody was identifying as addict alcoholics, getting sober you know. We were always sort of deleting the word, fixing it up a little because we wanted to get some good tapes out there to groups and areas outside of California that were really struggling to get started. But it was an atmosphere of being at ease and being yourself. It was really growth for me because like I said I was new and I have to be around people who had a lot of time and experience in the program. I just felt, I just felt like I had finally found some purpose and meaning in my life. I could talk until sunrise about this program. He loved to talk and in those days, Jimmy’s door was always open to addicts. It was a safe place to go, you could always hear about recovery in Narcotics Anonymous and you always felt good when you left his house... I knew very early on in my recovery that I would never use again and because I grew to love and appreciate Jimmy Kennon, I grew to love and care about NA. Because I first learned to love it.

 

One of the times that Jimmy was invited to share at a radio station, a call in program about NA. And typical practicing addict who knew nothing about recovery let alone NA would call in with stupid questions like can you mix green pills with black pills, or what is the most potent kind of pot out there. We were sitting at home going Oh shit man here is a time for NA to be talked about and get some of these addicts out there in . Because it was, a rock and roll radio station so we said hey let one of us call up and pretend were just a dope fiend or something, an addict who wants to know about NA. So Doug called up and he asked, well what is addiction? Jimmy really knew how to talk about addiction. Can you explain what it is he said, and dear Jimmy passing over this opportune time? He simply said, is this you Doug (laughter) you should know better you know. So that was the sort of guy that Jimmy was, he really did not you know, he was not he did not do things to try to impress people. You know he did things the very opposite of that.

 

In the late 70’s Greg P. and Bo S. began the efforts of what would later be known as NA’s Basic Text. Our Basic Text was written by addicts for addicts. This project took over six years to complete and our book finally became available for the fellowship conference approval in 1982. In 1980 there were whisperings going on about a new and better WSO. At one time, there was a worldwide paper strike and yet the fellowship clamored for their orders. While toilet paper in Japan was going for $10.00, addicts could not understand or conceive of the delays the office was experiencing. With very little funds to automate the office, working in the office was a night and day affair. As I stated before most of the people involved the actual work were newcomers, because the people with time were still going to AA or were busy doing other things. Yes, Jimmy was radical all right, it was the World Service Conference in 1980 that came out with the statement and motion that NA should cease and desist the selling and distributing or reading of AA literature at NA Meetings. So a trustee stood up and said, “Oh, I hoped it would not come to this.” (laughter)

 

The first foreign translation in Spanish of the NA pamphlet was prepared for distribution by the office and presented to the conference in 1981. The world directory typed by hand on an out dated and often broken typewriter was typed and copied in Jimmy’s house. It was presented at the WSC for distribution to members. Around this time there developed a conflict between the World Service Literature Committee and the WSO over who was going to be in charge of production and distribution of the Basic Text that was in the making.

 

In the spring of 1981, just prior to the World Service Conference the WSO moved its headquarters to a new office on Vineland Avenue in Sun Valley in hopes of meeting the demands of the officers of the conference and Board of Trustees, to move the office out of Jimmy’s house once and for all. The office was moved to its new location. It was one large room with a storefront. The trucks came to move the furniture and stuff out of Jimmy’s house into our new office. Jimmy was still the manager of the office and was looking forward to working at a location outside of his home. I cannot help but wonder how he might have felt that day. With the bigger office, we all felt so grateful and proud to have acquired such a place to better facilitate the needs of the fellowship. However, the move the office made to its new location primarily to address the concerns of some of the officers of the World Service Conference and the entire Board of Trustees. They did not finally address their real intentions, which were to disband the WSO board, staff and Jimmy K as office manager.

 

Jimmy K died of lung cancer on July 9, 1985 a little while after he was locked out of the WSO. Upon arriving at work one day the locks had been changed, he went home and wept in Betty’s arms. In all the moments I spent with Jimmy, he never told me what to do. I can remember when the controversy with the office started. I would get so upset and angry I would tear down Vineland Avenue toward Jimmy’s house to get some answers I needed. When I would get there he would sit me down give me some coffee, give me a cookie and I would expect some profound thing, remedy, but he would pull out his poetry book and read me some peaceful poem and it would calm me down and you know I would be ok. I would start to relax, Jimmy was not a director, he was not into control, he was not all‑powerful and he was not selfish. But Jimmy was not one to go along just to get along. Jimmy could vote with a blindfold on, standing up for what he believed was right and in NA”s best interest always. He was never an instrument of any one person’s demise or misfortune in NA. He went by principle. I wish I could have had about 10 years when I met him so I could have asked him some real meaty questions about life and how it relates to the program for me today. But I think today he would be proud of me, I have a life and I will always be grateful to him for when I met him at the beginning of my recovery and that is what I have. Thanks. (Applause)

 

Does anyone have any questions? None?

 

Audience: Is that the non controversial things that went on or could we get you to expound a little bit about who did what to whom, when. I mean that was really what I thought maybe when we were here for and people like really poked me for stuff like names and stuff like that. Just tell the story hun. (UN clear speaking)

 

Fawn: He was not senile by any means. He had an excellent memory. I was often shocked at how he could recall because I use to work with him all the time and we would get letters in from (Poot Butt, South Dakota) or something and I would forget the name and what day it was sent. He would know it just like that, so he had a very keen and sharp mind, he was not senile. Like I said in the thing there was, when the Basic Text was being born I think there might have been visions of what that might bring to NA. Whether it be profits or an explosion of growth and perhaps people wanted to be in on that. Maybe seeing themselves as managers, leaders you know this is what I am trying to imagine you know I do not think that people, I have to believe that people do not intentionally go out to stick it up somebody’s ass. But there was a time in my recovery that I really thought that. But the way it was gone about was disgraceful and dishonest. I sat there through three conferences you know and I felt like a witness to an atrocity. You know what I saw happening with a lot of new people in recovery with a couple of years clean being prompted with the motions to go up to the conference floor and make the motions that would get him out. The fellowship did not want Jimmy out, the Trustees wanted it.

 

When the book was finally getting ready, see the office had to make sure that how the book was getting distributed was being done in the channels that we had at that time, through the service structure. So it was a lot of confusion, you know the book whoever the people that were involved with the Basic Text it was their baby, just as the office was our baby. You know it was very hard to let go of something. So I guess when it came time to producing and distributing the book or letting go of the book and letting the office do its job they were reluctant. Well one of the things that happened was the printers that we had used forever. We gave them the money to print the Basic Text and they went bankrupt. So that was a real blow and of course, it was some people did not accept that those things happened.

 

I remember one year at the conference I sat there in a circle with some other committee members, I was speaking on behalf of the WSO, and you know this one chairman said I just want to make sure that when this book comes that people are not living up in Beverly Hills and driving Mercedes. You know and he was implying that the WSO with the, he was assaulting the character of the people who worked in the office. I remember really being hurt and I just said that is an insult for you to be speaking that way. The thought really never occurred to me that anyone in NA could be like that could think that way. So it became like a battle and maybe it was also a battle between the East Coast and the West Coast or I do not know. I do know that like I said a lot of what I was seeing happening is that very early on in our history there were powerful personalities, maybe they were snubbed, maybe there was a fight and they carried resentment. Later on though people would sponsor people and you know how that goes, hey you know you are my sponsee and that person is a motherfucker and watch out for that asshole. So these resentments kind of kept growing and so they. I have a story of a member here who wrote it really good; maybe I will read it tomorrow. His version of what he saw happening and how a lot of it is tied into personality’s right out of Southern California. A lot of people who went around talking about Jimmy never met him and in my personal experience, none of the Trustees had the balls to confront the man himself, and say hey here is my beef, can you just get out. Why are you there, but they always used their little stories, their pigeons with two years, one year, 6 months and that was how that worked.

 

Question: I am an addict named Lawrence. Hi Lawrence. And I appreciate your presentation and your effort. Sort of educators and gives us some information. But I have to say its so and I just have to say that I feel like this is trivializing Jimmy K. Because if we are to get to the bottom of our history I just feel that, you know we need to know exactly what happened you know what happened, who were the people who wanted Jimmy K removed? Look, if we are to put anything together you know as a history book or something like that you know it just seems to me that it would be advantageous for us to have you know why was the power play because obviously there was a power play involved. You know I appreciate your efforts and I do not mean to trivialize your efforts because I really appreciate it. It was informative but you know I just think that this is basically a story of Jimmy K and which is ok but I just think there is a whole lot more there and we are just not getting it. I just feel like half full you know and my other question is when New York approached or bid for the World Convention. Another question I have why was I mean what was actually the reason and the purpose for having the World Convention. I realize there was a purpose at the beginning and I am just wondering why it seems today that we have totally prostituted ourselves in terms of that, putting up flyers, I mean we are endorsing all this kinds of stuff and then we are saying it is all in the name of Narcotics Anonymous. I hope that you can respond on that.

 

Fawn: While I only have my opinion, I can offer here, but in answer to your second question, there are a lot of member who love conventions and look forward to going on a vacation where there are thousands and thousands of addicts from all over the world. It is exciting to a lot of people, most new people who go to World Conventions will most likely never use again, so I do not know. Some people like them, some people do not. There has always been a great turn out and it is about having fun. It is probably one of the few times when so many addicts can gather together and have fun rather than fighting and assaulting one another at a conference level. In answer to your first question, hey, I cannot distort the truth, history is history. It cannot be modified or changed; it was a very simple history of very early beginnings. Because Jimmy’s name was so slandered, he was treated so disrespectfully and in such an uncaring way. I felt it necessary to give you a truer and more honest picture, which you will probably never hear to people. Because it is so important, you know who carried us for such a long time and who made it possible for us to grow. Jimmy never wanted to take credit for being the big beginner or anything that was not what it was about, but you knows I can read things; I can see what the truth is. I can come up here and look if you want to know who did what there all right here in the minutes. If you want to know who the entire Board of Trustees was looking in the 1979, 1980, 81, and even 82 minutes, the motions are in there. Some girl from I do not know made the motion. Finally, someone had the guts to come flat out and say that we just fire him. It took that long you know I am not about sitting here and giving a bunch of names out when the people are not here. I was hoping I could come here today and see some of those people here, there not here. Because I would like to know, I am curious too. How can you the man who was responsible for ten years what happened? So, I have questions, some of the very people that were responsible for the removal of Jimmy and caused him so much pain walk around and glorify him today, which totally blows me away. Taking credit for loving and what a dear man he was , so that kind of shit disturbs me. I don’t understand that one. I hope the slanders on the tape, well.

 

Question: I am a grateful recovering addict by name. Two things from what I understand when a nation of people a family a person cannot identify a trauma that is past with any subject to repeat it. This situation that happened with Jimmy K , okay in one respect we can say that the past , what I am concerned about is the people who we have today and the leaders we have today that pick innovators. The people who are producing literature for us now who have NA at heart, what is to prevent the situation from happening t0 them, now or next week or whenever. The second part of my question is, is there a group of people or a panel or a committee of whatever that coordinating the portion about history. Dave’s portion about history and other peoples about the history of NA at this present time. At this particular meeting and coordinating that the adding to the artifacts, to present to a publisher or whatever. To print this history and what is being done to protect the artifacts, the pieces of history and documentation that Jimmy has. That his wife has, Betty K has in case something happens to her. Is there some sort of mechanism to protect that information or to distribute that information to coordinate all this in at least a raw form of the basic history, that we can look at or be printed or what.

 

Fawn: thanks a lot those are good questions. A few years ago, Lynn A. a dear friend of Betty’s approached Bob Stone at the WSO and said look Betty has tons and tons of archival history. About Narcotics Anonymous that he saved as his personal memorabilia that she is ready to turn over to Narcotics Anonymous under one condition that it not be altered of changed the reason she said was this there was a time in our history where members of the conference wanted to change J’s story which was another look . Jimmy always felt that another look was a part of history and it was not right to revise, delete, change, or fix up anybody’s story. He revised it himself they were pretty, I think back then what they were hung up with was the word self‑reliance because they were dirty words in Alcoholics Anonymous. So they could not understand that the man with his over twenty years of recovery found true self‑reliance after having worked the steps. As you and I well know the only way that we find true self‑reliance, we all were here that long. Having developed a relationship with our Higher Power and through reliance on a higher power we come upon self reliance, but they had to have that spelled out they thought you just can’t say you‘re going to be self reliant. So she offered that was her condition and without any further I will get back to you or anything Bob Stone said. No, sorry but anything that you turn over to WSO becomes our property and we can do anything with it that we choose. So she politely said well FUCK YOU so that is the story there. I find it very hard to believe WSO, the way it is now would ever in a million years give credit where credit is due. I think NA the way it is now, the story we like to present to the fellowship, is the one we have now the “ PO BUTT ”. Hey in 1953 we all woke up, here was this big fat fellowship for us all, and that is the way it happened. It has to start somewhere and a lot of the people that are still involved with World Service. I don’t know maybe they still have resentments for them. I know at the time the WSO was functioning there are some strong personalities on the staff. There were members of the literature committee that resented members of the WSO staff and hey I was a member of the WSO staff and I resented a lot of the members of the World Service Literature Committee. So there was that going on. Does that answer your question? Ok I forgot the other one ok, I know there have, are some.

 

History workshops being done, I know there’s one in Alabama in August and allot of the people involved with the Basic Text, the original Basic text are going to be there and they are trying to start a compiling of this information. People who have the NA archives of information about anything about any history period in NA are being encouraged to come out and participate. Its going to be from what I understand a very big event. And a lot of participation. I know w there are some tapes floating around but you know I don’t know if the WSO would publish something like that. I think it would have to be, because it is such a we organization. You know we put so much emphasis on the we they would have to I would think in going along with that, they would have to cut that part out. That’s the way I see a conference approval, or an office approval , or a board approval, or whoever’s running the boat now would probably do it ( unclear ) not by the WSO and world service conference no ( audience ). Well that is a question that was asked of me at the C&P region and you know, do something go to some of the history workshops, get the things started. I don’t know I mean I don’t know, how things like this get started. Like how we started our Basic text you know an idea was planted and a bunch of people got in on it and it started to happen. You know I don’t see the outcome of it happening anytime soon I think because it is going to take a lot of work.

 

Question: I am Mike, I am an addict. You know previously I have gotten involved with this service thing. I am kind of frustrated and I heard a lot. In the past few months, I have learned a lot and I do not know a whole lot about Jimmy K. Basically you know I feel like we should be working on today and today’s service, how we can change Narcotics Anonymous today My question would be like what advise would you give the fellowship today on, to help the service structure. How we can get the fellowship back and hold onto it, and to not have all different Basic Texts floating around and have like some kind of service structure. A sturdy one, you know something better that what we have had in the past. There was nothing wrong with what we had in the past. But it is 1990, the fellowship changed for the better, its bigger, most addicts today are clean, there not clean and sober. When I came in I was clean and sober and today I am clean, I have been clean quite awhile. And the people with time, I talk to them you know to some of them it is like the big people up here in World Service. They kind of like put you down, push you away. Some of them like they don’t want to tell you nothing and that are the impression I get. I don’t know if its ego, pride, they want to make money, I don’t know. You know but it kind of hurts because I am getting all this information. I am new in service and some of the issues bother me. Whoever started this fellowship you know I feel for them. I am glad Narcotics Anonymous is here and I don’t have to go nowhere else today. You know and I wish the people up here in WSO would get honest, get real, and stop playing games you know and that is just the way I feel.

 

Audience: Part of what you said struck off a chord in me because Bo who is going to be here tomorrow has been; he says he has access to everything he needs for the history. He is perfectly capable of writing it. He wrote the story of the Basic Text and his problem has been that he has told many people including the WSO you know I cannot do this and work a job, but I need someone to enable me to get this book done. No one seemed interested, so what he has been doing is slowly by slowly. You know first he got the computer then he got a laser printer and the whole time he is, as I will just. Then he told me that he was going to have to become in a financial sufficient manner to where he would be able to sit down and do it himself if necessary. But it takes time and he needs help and that’s part of why he offered to come here for this workshop, and he is going to Alabama as he feels that if more people become educated about the need for this you know nothing can be done alone. I am very interested in the history for a lot of my own personal reasons and I was speaking to a founder of another program who said that of the leadership is turned over to the fellowship before the fellowship is not mature enough the disease will rip it apart. I see that exactly happening when I look at the years and the short time with which it was taken away from Jimmy for whatever reasons. I called up Greg and asked what could have been done for that control to be kept among you longer and he said it would have been wrong for them to do that, they had to turn it over to do spiritually the right thing. But you know I tend to wonder if there could not have been someway for it to have been left in their control. I mean other than Bob Stone who is not an addict, who bottom line is the dollar you know I mean I’ve been there and his palm id hairy But I am saying during this time I want to know what could have been done to where it could have spiritually been. I want to know what could have possibly been done to spiritually turn that over like they had to do but not to someone like Bob Stone. That is what I would like to know so maybe when Sob Stone is out we do not get another one worse.

 

Fawn: I spoke with Stu Tordman a couple of weeks ago and I asked him about, I had a conversation with him about the recent firing of Bob Stone as the WSO manager at the WSO, and I said who is going to run it now? He said it is going to turn into a World Service Center as opposed to a board and it is going to be run by a, its going to answer more to the conference. It was evidently, this is what he told me ok, and he said that the time had come where it is not that they are displeased with what he was doing but they saw the need that the office had to be accountable to the conference. That it could not be run by an executive director anymore or someone who you know the way it was. The fellowship, what I see happening well you know I do not even know, you know it is like I was raised in NA. The pyramid looked like the member in big letters at the top, you know then the group, then the area and as it got smaller and then the region and at the very bottom the World Service Conference and the WSO, and all the sub committees that branched out. I see the pyramid totally turning around and I think what has happened is we see a system of self‑preservation happening. You know who was as far as the history of the Basic Text; I think Bo is very qualified to write about the history of the Basic Text. I do not know about the history of NA. I have read a little bit about that and I don’t agree with especially about the New York stuff. I happen to know that is incorrect that is why I made so much references to the New York. Because as we know it did not start in New York and as far as I am concerned it is one more effort to take away the credit where the credit is due.

 

So there was something else I wanted to say, I think that, I do not know I don’t go to the conferences anymore. From what I hear, it would totally blow me away. Some of the old timers that someone else was saying earlier that were there early on, yeah they are not involved anymore. People like me because personally I feel like I gave four years of my life to that and I am lucky I got away from it with my recovery, my sanity. It was very disturbing and until there is a totally overhaul of new people I will not attend. You know I was telling somebody the other day, yeah okay let us all go there to the conference, and say Ok everybody can vote. The Board of Trustees, the regional reps., the WSO manager, all these other friggin subcommittees, let them all vote. People who represent absolutely no one, but under one condition that everyone in office right now resign and then see if they would like to have this new idea of theirs go into motion. You know I don’t know it has just gotten so, you know the other day I was sitting in a meeting, just a regular NA Meeting and I saw the Traditions up on the board and you know how sometimes you just start glancing at them. You know it just seems that what is going on is, if you really look at the Traditions in just a flat, just the way they are on paper. It seems like we have just gotten out of hand, it seems to me that we have gotten too organized. It seems to me that our service boards and committees are not directly responsible to us. You know it seems like we are just not following the Traditions. But there is so much fancy language to justify they are being followed that it overwhelms me. Just a simple person to, you know get in there and strategize it with these people. I think one of the reasons that the WSO lost out in ’82 was because we were so busy sending orders out, stapling pamphlets that we didn’t have time to sit around and play fuckin strategy. While these assholes sat around in corners talking about OK here is how were going to get the motherfuckers out, when this motion passes you do this, and if it does not pass here is the plan of action. That is how it went, I saw it happening and I think that if they don’t get there way here, lets just let some time pass and we will bring it up again. There are so many different ways you know it so professional, it is like the only people who really understand at are those people who are still sitting on these boards and committees for ten or twelve years. You send a regional representative who is in service for one year out there and he is there overwhelmed, all he knows is his group conscience that is all he is carrying. The thousands of people he is representing and you hear all bullshit you don’t know how to think. You don’t want to be left out. So then a vote is called for , it is so easy to forget why you are there and so what do you do? You look around the room and there is Joe Blow Trustee, well he must know what is happening. I will just vote like him. You know so I don’t really think when we talk about fellowship approval at the conference level, I don’t know because the issues we are talking about at home, they are not of anything we are talking about at the conference. So I wonder where is all the group conscience shit they are talking about that is happening at the World coming from. Because I really believe, my personal opinion that if all regional representatives carried just exactly what our regions want and nothing else the conferences would go back to three days long. Because there will be no bullshitting and no more ego playing. You have to remember that a lot of people that are in service, these regional reps. They don’t have a lot of time clean, some of them do and some of them don’t, and not all of them have finished working the Steps. So you know they want to be heard, they want to raise their hand, they want to talk, you know that is normal. I think we all go through that. People tolerate us, maybe that is the feeling your friend there was talking about earlier, how it always seems that they look down to me. I guess after awhile they just get tired of hearing the same questions year after year. My feeling is the system of services should be on a rotating basis. And we should get more to the spirit of volunteerism, and rotations as opposed to preserving the powerful positions that can sway many of us when it comes to money, property and prestige. I know a lot of them go and pray, you know I know a lot of them go home and write inventory and share with the newcomer. But it is real easy to think that you are doing the right thing ands not even realize you are being motivated by perhaps something else. You know hanging on to your big fancy name or your big fancy payroll, your salary I mean or whatever you know.

 

Question: I am an addict named Mike. Hi, Mike. I was just wondering what year we started paying our Trusted servants you know to work in the office. What year did that take place? Was our fellowship aware of that, did they have any say in how much salary we would pay them, or was that approved by the WSO itself? And I just have one more... Could you briefly tell me how that affected Narcotics Anonymous?

 

Fawn: I think it has made a lot of people resentful, you know I mean that is what I am seeing. I think that accountability for every service arm of Narcotics Anonymous is essential. Because we are all addicts and because it is important because we are a fellowship, to know where the money is going and how it is spent. I don’t know who makes what or how much they make. I don’t know if that information is even available to the fellowship is it. I did ask Stu when I talked to him, I said well I hear a lot of people are upset that so many people are flying around the world first class and to countries where NA has not even started, just to set up corporation rights. You know what the hell is going on. He said well Fawn you should know better than that. (laughter) He said that the laws are very different in other countries for example in Germany. When they were translating the literature, Germany has a problem with the word leaders and wanted to change that word, so there is a lot of stuff I guess that justifies you know sending people out to get this. I heard translations are very very costly, although the Spanish translation of our little White Book cost nothing. We had it done by the foreign class, Spanish foreign class at the University of Southern California free when we told them what we wanted.

 

Question: I Al, I am an addict. You talked about the Basic Text, could you elaborate on the process they used to approve, the first Basic Text. (Answer unclear, mic not at speaker)

 

Question: Hi, I am addict Carl. A wonderful lady we both share in our lives Betty, she passed along phones numbers to get in contact with you and Doug in her hopes of organizing what she called a calamity for as long as I have known her. Maybe that is something on a personal level we can discuss later. I guess my major question is one of the things that are being hoisted out to the fellowship today in a new service structure and one of their comments transpired in 1979‑1980 of the creation of the offices as a separate entity. Being in service from 1978 to 1982 are you privileged to information. What actually occurred from what was available in the Tree that put the office in the hands of the Board of Trustees? And what is now being explained as all of a sudden, it came out of the office into production as a separate entity and nobody noticed. How close is that to the truth? The office became its own separate entity outside the control of the Trustees in 79‑80 that was said to have happened in the office.

 

Fawn: When the WSO staff, good question. When the WSO staff was working at the office at the time, there were a couple of Trustees who were also part of the staff. They stopped coming to work and they were later discovered to be the instigators of a lot of the dissention in terms of like, we got to get him out of there. You know and stuff like that. So the office had elections and voted in a new board, that is what happened. All the people that were voted out of the board were the workers. We decided the people best qualified to be participants at the WSO were the people, I mean to be on the board of the WSO were the people who were doing the damn work. Because everybody else had so many opinions you know you would always get these people coming over with their grandiose ideas and then they would split. You know they did not want to hang around and help with the work.

 

Question: What was changed in our literature, what changed in how we came into two basic structures? ( ) that was never brought before the conference, it was never discussed.

 

Fawn: The WSO quite simply, what they presented to the conference, was that the WSO was a separate entity in that the way that they explained it was no, ( ) Right and also because id NA was ever sued, NA the fellowship could not be sued, the WSO would be sued. So that way it protected, it was like the legal part of the fellowship. That is the only reason that was ever stated. It was not like something new that was invented. It was always known that the WSO is not Narcotics Anonymous. You know just like a dance is not, it wasn’t a secret agenda or something to come out with.

 

Question: Can we get the NA history Book; can we get it printed without anything on the world level? Can we get it privately, like if that was successful could we get something else printed? What kind of plans are being taken to print the history?

 

Fawn: But there would probably be, would not there be problems with the infringement of the name Narcotics Anonymous. So I mean if you wanted to do it through the structure.

 

Question: Can I ask you a question what is Narcotics Anonymous then, is not it the group. I mean isn’t the group Narcotics Anonymous? So I mean how could the group infringe on what’s rightfully theirs?

 

Answer: We have a service structure. If something stinks then the service structure should be changed. As a group of Narcotics Anonymous to change that by a group taking action and following through with it. I mean the group is autonomous and can take action within the group and start initiating those changes and doesn’t have to wait for the conference to go do the ( )

 

Fawn: Things should go from the fellowship to the conference not the other way around. We should not be being told what is going to happen to us from the conference. We should be directing the conference what we want done. I was very shocked to hear, I was like the last one to know that there was a time in NA when all the World Service Committees were open to the fellowship. You know if you wanted to be on the Literature Committee, anybody could come. Now you have to be polled and voted in if you even want to be on it. I mean I hate the closing off that I see happening. The exclusion stuff that is going on. I know there use to be a time when there were no time requirements, I was 6 months clean and I was the conference secretary conference, I mean it has just gotten so to a point where I think it would turn a lot of people off to even bother tot try to get on some of these committees. Such a hassle and so hard to get your sign up on the list or get your name. I do not know how they do it now but I know it is not the way they use to do it. Because the Basic Text created by the fellowship, I don’t see why that can’t still be happening and I am shocked at this whole thing about the 12 principles of service. I think that’s so horrible, because its not the NA I know. You know really blows me away, I don’t know.

 

 

Tape 3

Allentown Addathon 1990

Letter from Doug F.( reading)

 

I am Eric; I would like to welcome everyone back. We are going to have a moment of silence followed by the Serenity Prayer. Then we are going to open the meeting up and talk about the issues. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference, just for today.

I am going to turn the floor over to Lu and let him explain where we are at. This is Lu, exceptional reading skills (laughter). What I am going to be reading is a letter, inventory history that was written and sent on by somebody who could not be here today and hope you bear with me, because I am not the best reader. I am the one that got asked to do it and I have learned never to say no.

 

I sometimes think especially today about the reasons why addicts are the way they are. The way they treat each other and the way they feel toward each other even clean. When I first came into the fellowship, I experienced a lot of alienation, especially from the dope fiends. It was as if they really didn’t understand who I was or where I had been, and it seemed that if one didn’t shoot heroin, go to jail, shoot heroin, go to jail, add infinitum, one just didn’t belong. There just did not seem to be room for anyone else. I am beginning to understand why they thought the way they did and I began to understand myself. Whenever you go to a meeting that is comprised of a lot of different people, you get a lot of different ways of thinking and expressing different thoughts. That is why this fellowship has grown the way that it has. We are getting people in who because of the nature of the drugs are recovering from their addiction much faster. If the very essence of narcotics was to be explored they are vastly different than other drugs, and the organization that bears that name in all reality probably should have dedicated itself to the cause of narcotics addiction as opposed to drug addiction. I can see today that the addict of long ago would not have joined the organization that you see today, but enough of them were here when the transition from narcotics addiction to addiction occurred that when created, did state that narcotics and sedation. I guess when Jimmy wrote it that seemed to suffice in the implication.

 

At any rate, the purpose of this paper is to explore the addict and the recovery setting and try to discover what is going on around Narcotics Anonymous. It is difficult because if you are an addict because it doesn’t necessarily mean you understand addicts. I can only try to reconstruct things from what I have been able to gather from information that I have been given and what I see transpiring today. Not being clean in 1953, I have to reconstruct with some of the information that the foundry gave me. I have to say as acting sometimes biographer sometimes first person I will try to tie it together as best I can with the information that I have. In the final analysis you will have to be your own judge, I am all good conscience and with the guidance of my Higher Power, I will do my best to write the truth and hope that it will be received that way. I am motivated to write this because it is to me an inventory of sorts and I hope to be free of the information and make certain decisions for myself based on this. So in part, this is my personal experience I am sharing with you.

 

Narcotics Anonymous was the idea of a man by the name James P. Kinnon. I can use the full name now because he is no longer with us. He passed away July 9, 1985. NA started in homes in the San Fernando Valley that is California. These first meetings were called rabbit meetings because they were held in homes and jumped around a lot. Whoever had the meeting at their house next usually took the coffee pot and a box of green glass cups and saucers. This NA is not to be confused with the NA that had attempted to make a start a few years earlier in New York City as reported in the Salvation Army news article and is informed by a Jesuit priest speaker at the 13th world convention of NA held in New York. There is a tape circulating around the fellowship with this story entitled “Junkie Priest”. If ever an organization would want to dedicate itself to any individuals, it should be those few suffering addicts who tried and failed in New York because of no support, only hope. It boggles the mind that in a spiritual organization people can fight, take sides, discredit each other and honestly think that what they do is infallible, even to the point of destroying another one reputations and good standing in the community NA. When we have more than just hope, what we have is reality.

 

At any rate, what happened were the original members got together and met at what was then called the Roads Moorpark meeting. Almost from the beginning, there were problems, one being that Sy Malias who was one of the first AA’s to support NA was discovered soliciting money from the LA County General Hospital, and the hospital was ready to pay it for 12 step calls. Jimmy found out about this and put a stop to it informing the hospital that we do not charge, we give this away free. Obviously, those in this very small organization at that time had their own opinions. In the final summation, Jimmy proved right. At approximately the same time another segments of addicts in the name of Narcotics Anonymous offered our services in Northern California for the purpose personal gain in the field of drug rehabilitation, I believe it was in Berkeley. Jimmy K once again met with the people at the university and told them that we do not sell this thing we give it away. This put the damper on those members’ activities and stopped them from as Jimmy put it cutting a big fat pig in the ass (laughter) these two single activities along with some differences in basic philosophy in the organization caused what I shall call the north south rift. The basic elements in philosophy were that a couple of members wanted to maintain the steps as the AA version and saw no reason to expand the literature. AA’s Book and 12 in 12 would be enough. For many years’ addicts coming into the program were told to just add the word drugs to wherever the word alcohol appeared and keep on stepping.

 

When Jimmy first wrote and compiled the stories for the first little White Book, prior to that we only had a little yellow book, which was informationally lacking. There were still those who were opposing him for even doing that, AA’s literature was good enough. I guess if you only knew that it would be good enough I think, at this point we have to remember that the fellowship and information that they had was not being related to by the addict at large. This organization was not being started for those addicts to meet who were making it in AA, but for those who were not. At any rate through dissention and discord, disharmony ensued and almost threatened to destroy any hope of NA ever developing the proper spirit to continue on. All the while Jimmy continued to have faith in his visions. He never gave up on the addict as so many others had done to us. When the fellowship was wanting and waning you could always find it in Jimmy’s maple kitchen table. What he learned about recovery and relapse he learned first hand. When in a moment of jubilation he wrote, “We do Recover” he also experienced that. Although it was tough getting started in the early years consider he was only clean and sober three years he always had faith in his vision and his vision never failed him. As Jack Waley was to recall on tape years later, he would go down to Moorpark, see Jimmy K, a few loaded junkies, and he would go down there to carry his message. Jack died 18 years clean and sober, was a Trustee for many years and died playing handball of a heart attack.

 

Jimmy’s vision came to him at a time when his life again became meaningless, when he began to question his own purpose for being as he was to relate years later a voice told me what I was to do. He never disclosed to anyone what that voice said, but those of us who were close to him never doubted it for a minute. His energy for service in this program was the kind of energy that could only come to one who was so inspired. Most of the text part of that pamphlet was written right down at the end of that table, as he was to recount to us in a meeting at Moorpark in which he was taking his 30‑year cake. I can only guess at the feelings that must have come to him as he blew out his candles. He always opened with his pitch. ,my name is Jimmy and I’m an addict, I am here because of so many that came before me and cant be here. I do not think that he ever thought that it was he that doeth the work. Even in relating about writing the pamphlet he merely said that much that was written was written “down at the end of that table”. He never claimed any credit for himself he was a humble man, but at the same time with a strong healthy pride and sense of being, he was a Scotsman. Those of us that were fortunate enough to know him got to know an enduring love and a sense of compassion never experienced before. His dedication to NA was unfaltering and his love for this program unending. Even in the course of my own service, there have been times out of disappointment, disillusionment and imagined betrayal that I just walked away. Jimmy never did, he held to the beacon light always helping others to the goal. In the course of my service for many years in the WSO both as a helper stuffing envelopes and eventual vice president of the corporation it was he that first asked me to be in service, it was He that first asked me to get involved. I have to say that in all honesty left to my own devices I would have called sobriety a new car and he taught me what we were about, service. That the more recovery you get the more you had be ready to give it away, because if you do not you will not keep it anyway.

 

As the disease would have it, NA went through more transitions with some of the members leaving with resentments. The overview would have it that personalities tried to win out over principles, that group split off trying to take the Moorpark meeting with it, and some of the members eventually moved back to Northern California to start the NA that they understood. Amazingly enough there are still people who claim that NA started in Northern California, and I was three years clean myself I heard a woman at the Santa Rosa convention in Northern California stand up in front of the fellowship, raise her arms and tell them that she founded Narcotics Anonymous. Jimmy was present at that function and never spoke to anyone about it; I guess he figured it was not worth going into. After all that was a person along with a few others who had almost destroyed NA’s chances of ever getting started. If she now wanted to take credit for the whole deal that was fine with him. All that I really know is that from inception to this very day we are still dealing with persons, attitudes and opinions from this original group that could not accept Narcotics Anonymous coming into being in its own way without AA literature or guidance. Many years later as the regional chairperson I was confronted many times with this issue, particularly in different areas of southern California that would determine to keep the Big Book of AA in their meetings and read from it. They made no small thing of this. People came to the regional meetings and raged at me for demanding that they remove those books from the meetings. I put it to the vote and this region back me in my stand. I always wondered after I had been to one of those meetings and saw each member with a book or books how they in their deepest imaginations could have considered themselves and NA Meeting.

 

At any rate, I informed them that in order to be considered to be apart of this region that the books would have to go or they should just call themselves an AA meeting. Oddly enough, most of those individuals from that area are the same people who are now on the other side of the coin and projecting this new fanaticism that we are experiencing in NA. I guess if you are a fanatic, any cause will do. Jimmy use to say that being a fanatic was part of spiritual growth and that as soon as you really knew what you were being a fanatic about you stopped being a fanatic.(laughter) We usually keep repeating something until we really know, I guess some people never outgrow that insecurity. It boggles the mind and sometimes I use to think to myself I am really glad that I don’t have to see all of this through Jimmy’s eyes. At that time, he had about 25 years clean and I guess he had witnessed all of this, the resurgence the repetition of all the nonsense for many years. I think the only thing that he use to ask himself was when are they going to stop arguing and come into the office and do some work. We have always had talkers in NA but very few who just quietly did the work.

 

At that time in NA History there were no titles to get, only service to render, and most of it was done on the back porch of a mans home. The preceding three attempts at having the office in a rented place had failed through lack of service, lack of interest and lack of Narcotics Anonymous. The last was above a Bail Bondsman Office in Van Nuys California. When Jimmy took it back into his home again there were boxes of orders, opened envelopes, but no checks, apparently they used the money to pay the rent but never filled the orders and no literature, a sad state of affairs to say the least. This was between 75 and 76, prior to that the office was in a mans trunk, not exactly accessible to the fellowship. I don’t remember how long it was in that state, Bob B would know it was his car. It was not easy for Jimmy to put it back together but it was easier in 65 ten years earlier. He sat at the Moorpark meeting with only one other member; Sylvia Wexler and she ask what he thought they should do. He looked at the little box of literature and said we will go on. This time at least there was a good start of a fellowship that extended itself to a few meetings in Phoenix, Arizona.

I remember when I first came into NA in 1972 at that time there were only four meetings in Southern California. I went to a meeting at that time in San Francisco and had to open it up because the secretary was not there. It was myself, another clean person, four loaded musicians and a girl who wasn’t sure if she was an addict or not. This was the state of affairs when Jimmy took over. The addict with his traditional attitude of I have mine, the addicts did not care if NA ever got out of the San Fernando Valley. Of course, at that time most addicts were going to AA and if the truth were really told not a lot of really made it. The real break for NA came and for the addict to when a man by the name of Bill Beck founded two recovery houses. One in Pasadena called Impact and the other in Sun Valley called Cry Help. Enough addicts came out of these places with a good enough understanding of the program that they stayed clean and the fellowship was to finally have a group of members that got their sobriety via NA and members of NA. I was in that first group that stayed for 9 months, went back out into society and had found it unnecessary for fourteen years to take and mind altering chemicals. Jimmy use to drop by once a day and visit and once a week he conducted a step study. He was a very strong motivating force for all of us. I was especially impressed with 23 years clean.

 

A couple years later, I asked him to be my sponsor and his reply was I would rather be your friend. I always valued that friendship, through the years we exchanged a lot of things some of them I am sure I have yet to realize. Well anyway, an office had to be put together and somehow fill the orders that were past due. At that time, all he had was a Social Security check so he threw that in the pot and the literature was ordered. Eventually he caught up with it all and NA was now on its way again. His phone use to ring twenty‑four hours a day people calling from all over the country. It was safe to say that every existing region had its very first contact with Jimmy K. He was more than just an office worker or contact for NA he was a friend. The personal touch that he gave people was probably a very strong inspiration for many. He use to tell me, if that phone would ever just stop ringing maybe I could just get organized and get something stuff done around here. He often did his work in early morning hours, because that was the only time that he could work undisturbed. During this time, he was also in pain. His legs bothered him constantly. He had emphysema and added heart circulation problem coupled with deteriorating discs in his back, causing him to loose quite a bit of sleep. In that way, the office being in his home was a blessing. When he could not sleep he could always write a letter to some other part of the country and at least give someone else some hope. I noticed something about him that was followed through in my life; it seemed that whenever he needed that was when he gave the most, in giving he received so much.

 

I remember him telling me sometimes about himself, about a couple of years prior to our meeting when he had tuberculosis and was in the hospital and was losing his ability to speak. He told his Higher Power that if he would just give him his voice back that he would for the rest of his life talk about Narcotics Anonymous. He was true to his word. When he was in the hospital, he carved the first NA Symbol out into a piece of leather. He said to me that he rarely thought about anything else and getting to a meeting.

 

It was a little later that I finally got into service. It was great going over to Jimmy’s house and mailing literature and reading some of the letters that came in from all over the country. For an organization that did not advertise, NA sure caught on like a house of fire. For a few years, I use to hope from New York because that was the last place I used before coming to California. The letters just kept coming and from them came a reaching out and an effort to addicts that had never been paralleled. One man with the help of a few addicts finally had the opportunity to realize his vision and dream. The lesson here I guess is to just plug along long enough and in Gods time all things come into being. I know that he desired nothing else in the world, he was not a man that was ever impressed by the material world he was a practical man who just believed in planning things out and getting the job done. He use to say to me if it ain’t practical, it ain’t spiritual, his feet firmly on the ground much like facing a bulldog. If you were not entirely straightforward with the man, he had little use for you. More than once I heard him say to members that were being elusive, when you are ready to come clean then I will talk to you. If it was not about the work, or service or the program, he had little use for the conversation. To my knowledge, he never as long as I knew him ever hurt another human being but I am sure along the way he did hurt a few feelings. He was a no nonsense kind of man and anyone that ever dealt with him personally would tell you that.

 

I think the most difficult time that we had in the WSO was when a person by the name of Bo S came to one of our conferences with a rough draft of what he called the Book. Everyone was so enamored at the possibility of NA finally getting a book that they were convinced by the way that he spoke that he was indeed the chosen person to do it and the conference did in fact institute a committee giving him full charge and their well wishes. When I first met this man, he claimed to have this mission for NA based on the fact that he had been the speed connection for all of Atlanta Georgia. This was the only way that he could make his amends. He showed me the rough draft that he had that was a Xerox copy with a big light block through the center of every page making it impossible to read. I thought at the time that he was either a hustler or a crazy person. Years later, I hold the opinion that he was both.

 

A year later he came back to the next conference with four file cabinets full of what a girl that was with him told me was the book. Based on her sincerity and my association with her, Shirley C from Atlanta, I agreed to work with the committee. Being a New York kid I was not easily convinced so I ask if they would mind if we in California Xeroxed what they had and jointly shared and edited the information. They agreed, that year I became part of the Literature Committee. I had the title of Literature Committee Chairperson. Bo and Shirley left after the conference and did not contact me for the rest of the year. We went to a place to Xerox all of this great stuff and I realized and I told them that the majority of what they had belonged to other people, articles, medical studies and psychologist opinions and papers and that this was not in anyway a making of a book. In fact I think that out of all that I reviewed there were but twenty some odd pages that were somewhat original and could be a start of a book. Bo was somewhat discouraged and assured me that this psychologist was a friend of his and that he could get his permission to use all the material. I told him that it was not applicable to our book that he would have to canvas the fellowship for original material and it was left at that.

 

About then many things started happening that made my tenure and everyone else is very difficult. I don’t know how to explain it or how it started I think that I probably don’t know as much about it as I wish that I did and maybe in the future all the facts will be known, I can only write what I know. The year was 1980 and all hell broke loose. It was during my work as chairman of the Southern California RSC that many things started occurring. I had requested $1000.00 for the WSO so we could put first and last months rent on a building that we had located. The decision was made to move the office out of Jimmy’s home because there were rumbling that the issue might be brought up at the next conference, which was only a few months away. There was talk that they might want to move it to Georgia. We calculated with so much hullabaloo going on about all the work that they were doing on the book that they probably could have requested anything and got it. At any rate, I requested the $1000.00 from the region. At that, time they had $7800.00 in various checking accounts for various committees, which they claimed, was prudent reserve but in spite of all that, the area reps from all areas voted yes. They were very enthusiastic about the idea.

 

Many members at the time were very concerned with the fellowship growing at the rate it was that we should have something more to show than Jimmy’s back porch. As the chairman, I called the treasurer and requested the check. Simple procedure yes, complicated process. She said she would meet me the next evening at the dance with the check, she did not show up. I called her and she agreed to meet me again, I felt that I was being stalled. She met me, refused to write a check, and said that I should call the chairman of the Board of Trustees. He told me that I should wait until the next conference to move the office and that I had no right soliciting the money for my committee. I took this back to the regional committee and I debated the issue until we had won. The treasurer resigned and I fired off a letter to the Board of Trustees demanding to know why they were trying to control my committee. Much transpired and the details are to numerous to list here the crux of it went something like this, calls were made to every region were made from the Board of Trustees outside of Southern California asking them to freeze any money that they intended to send the WSO until after the conference. Literature orders dropped drastically and we were informed that somewhere pamphlets were being produced without our knowledge and distributed all over the mid to southern southeastern regions. I can only posit a theory that is that some of the money earmarked for the literature committee ended up in this undertaking. Well the office was moved and we received enough orders to keep on going. I have to add at this time that a lot of areas ordered large orders and never paid for them. We seem to be under fire and just could not figure out where it was coming from. A task the started out as love and service was ending up in a war. It became apparent after a short period what was going on. Again the events are so complex and too numerous to list here. The meetings of the 80‑ 81 conference bear most of it out on the surface. The rest does not leave much to his imagination.

 

Out of the last literature conferences that were held in Southern California came the joining together of two groups of people. One the new NA or greater NA as the would later blatantly refer to themselves and another group of people were the friends and sponsees of a few people who still had an axe to grind with Jimmy over issues that were now almost over two decades old. These same people who had been involved in the original NA rift between Northern and Southern California were now re‑emerging in the form of people they sponsored; they rarely came out front but were always close by. I was to realize that in my short time around I too was to be considered their enemy. Wasn’t it I who had made them take the AA books out of our NA Meetings? I guess when I threw in with Jimmy K that there was a lot that I was to understand for me personally. I was also among along with his friendship to inherit his enemies. He never made any bones about it, he told me everything. I went in with my eyes open, just took this warning about certain people as truth, and just did the best I could. I never realized how much power that hate and resentment have until this juncture in my life.

 

At this point and time the literature committee which had never really been very communicative with the office anywhere showed up at the next conference with a printed and copyrighted copy of what they called our book and requested that we print it immediately. I remember the chairman for the Board of Trustees came over to Jimmy’s house and told him that he thought it was a beautiful piece of work and that we should publish it as is immediately. What they had was not the book and was they had and was to undergo many changes over a period of three years until it became somewhat readable, free of plagiarisms and redundancies and at least qualifiable to be called our basic text. I can only surmise from the events that happened that somewhere a plan was devised to publish the book, move the conference, move the office and remove Jimmy from the new NA or greater NA as they referred to themselves. At that time, all indications pointed toward a split in the fellowship. If this group of individuals now united within and outside of the state did not get their way. Jimmy went to the lawyers and closed the corporation to keep it from being penetrated by these factions who were becoming more vocal and starting to surface everywhere especially at the conference.

 

I want to give a very special recognition to Bob B. of the Board of Trustees, one can duly note in the minutes along with Bill B. who constantly reminded these individuals one the conference floor that the WSO was a outside issue and a separate entity that had the same autonomy and right as any other committee represented there. It would take the faction another two years to figure out how to get around that. For the meantime we were able to hold the line and secure the home fronts so that Narcotics Anonymous would not be taken over by a group pf addicts who were proving to us that they were fast becoming self serving and treated the traditions like they were there for them and only them to interpret. If you voiced a different opinion, you were accused of disunity, stirring the pot if you will. It was not long before that the discrediting of the WSO began to occur. There were slurs about people not getting the literature ordered letters not answered and talk and accusations about the members in the office using the phones to propagandize. I wondered what kind of organization I was apart of and for that matter what country I was living in It was very clear that this coalition and that included many of the Board of Trustees there is still a few around today would do anything within its power to further its ends. The slurs were endless, I still hear them today. A girl from Florida recently asked me if I had burned all the records in the WSO. The rumors persist that I am just a guy from California who use to work in office and has resentment because he was thrown out. The tactics that these people used are abhorrent and as Jimmy use to say reprehensible. In May of ’81, he gave me his personal resignation to deliver to the conference and read. It was one of the saddest days of my life. I felt that if he was leaving the Board of Trustees who could you trust. I have in the course of service in NA had many points of disillusionment. This was one of the greatest,” due to the unconscionable actions of some members of the Board of Trustees on a personal level and the mistrust, division and disunity engendered by the same within the fellowship I submit my resignation on this date, April 27, 1981”. His resignation was then followed by Bill B. His statement in short reads, I hereby resign as a member of the Board of Trustees because I refuse to do business with deceit and dishonesty that more or less summed it up. The Chairman of the Board stated that he would gladly accept Bill’s resignation on whatever conditions he placed it. He was later to lull the conference to sleep by stating after re‑nominating Jimmy back to the board that he was sure that Jimmy would come back to his senses and come back to the board. He further stated to quall any thoughts about the board that Jimmy was to NA as Bill W was to AA and that no one had gone out of their way to hurt him. All they wanted to do was steal his dream and take it to Atlanta. As Bo was once overheard saying by the secretary of the conference and myself , we didn’t want to hear about those people driving Cadillac’s out in California after this book is published. He further stated which I think is very solicitous of him that Jimmy is of his right mind and in good health that he had just met with him this morning and he was all right. The rumor was along with other slurs that he was senile and he could not listen to reason.

 

All that I can tell you about this part of service or the business of NA is that daily a devastating experience. As each day opened, there were more rumors and more innuendos. Jimmy took the position that we would answer none of it. Just keep our heads down and do the work. I do not think to this day that many people really know the whole truth that is besides the people who spread the lies to begin with. The lies that were spread not only hurt Jimmy and the people in the office but the addicts themselves, NA as a whole. I was the main speaker at the 12th World Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After I got off the podium a young girl fell at my feet crying, please let them print the book, why do not you let them print the book. She told me that her brother had OD’d a few weeks before and that if she had had the book she could have saved his life. I felt so sorry for her and in trying to comfort her; I forgot to ask her where she had gotten that information. It was very bizarre, a throng of people were standing in line to thank me and an accuser hangs on my legs crying like I was Napoleon responsible for the life and death of a civilization. A similar experience happened to Jimmy K in New York after he appeared at the 13th World Convention. An accuser stopped him and asked him what the fuck he did with the money from the book Referring that the money raised by the fellowship for the book that was lost in a bankruptcy by the printing firm that we contracted to print it. It is not long before that these individuals some Board of Trustees and others put together an AdHoc committee through the conference in 1982 to as they put it; get to the bottom of things. If a frontal assault did not work, I guess they would go through the bottom. They gathered up a report of complaints at the time that they felt would be satisfactory to dismiss our board all in the name of unity and Sally E. was at the forefront of that movement. In the course of that conference, a select committee was appointed to deal with this issue behind closed doors. This was a last minute decision, which they came about through my informing them that I too had a report. Mine dealt with the breaking of Traditions by the Board of Trustees. Not just a few letters not getting mailed without going into the infinite of what went down in this committee of who said what to whom I will take special note that James D. Newly elected board member upon leaving after I was in the process of reading my report exclaiming I want to get out of here I think I am going to throw up. I am sure that the recounting of this story he will say that he had the flu that day. If you know anyone long enough probably, everyone changes their story. At any rate, the rest is history.

 

As far as me leaving the office, it was precipitated by the standing board and the newly elected board to the WSO. I came to work at the office one day and one of the volunteers came up to me and told me that there had been some changes. The WSO board had met and elected a new president, this being new to me I further inquired. It seemed that the board had an emergency meeting called by the president Phil P. and that he had resigned last night and had nominated a new president who was elected. The new president was Chuck G. This to me was the most vicious cut of all. I was the vice president of a non‑profit organization duly elected to that board with a legal responsibility and was not even called to an emergency meeting or present at the election of a new president. To say that I felt slided is to understate it. I felt humiliated, deceived and betrayed. I called the lawyer for the corporation and asked him what recourse I had. This was an obvious error, like calling your wives lawyer during a divorce (laughter). He told me that he did not see any recourse that I had and said frankly to me that he had never encountered a situation like this before and agreed with me that it was a very unusual thing to happen for a non‑profit organization. He could not figure what the gain was in the move; I was all too familiar with the move. I had seen it used before in the case of Bill B. It had cost him the two recovery houses he had founded, in both cases discrediting information was first circulated then the bounce. I think that this is called character assassination. A sad commentary on a great career that a man embarks upon only to be cheated out of it when he reached the goal. No unlike what happened to Jimmy. There are many in this fellowship that should be searching their conscience about what they said and did to these men. Many of the individuals involved were the same people in both cases.

 

I am not asking anyone to do that for me because what was done to me did not destroy my life livelihood or dreams, it only hurt my feelings. It made me grow up a little faster than I would have chosen to and prompted me to write these things. The thing that I have been taught and learned it well is to write. Jimmy had signed off the corporation a year prior to all the eventual power struggles. I guess he saw the writing on the wall. At the time of my resignation, Jimmy was working as the office manager having demoted himself from director and president of the corporation to office manager and was happy to just make sure that the day‑to‑day work went smoothly. By the next conference with no one there to really protest, they voted him out and elected a new office manager. I often wondered what the threat was with him just being there overseeing the work and sharing the legacy of his program with the newer members. He was a man who could accept change he would have been happy to do it. After all, wasn’t the new office manager called the executive director? Would there have been enough room in this organization to let him just stay or come in a few days a week. What I guess I am really asking is don’t these people have any respect. Was the hunger for power so great that all power even personal power of a single man had to go? Was the vendetta so deep that all that got in its way had to be vanquished? Was not there just a little room still left in anyone’s heart for the founder of Narcotics Anonymous. Yes founder, conceiver, and worker among workers, first committed and last to leave.

 

Until recently, I always had those questions in my mind. Recently I had them all answered for me. First, they changed one word back to the way AA says it which was my first indication that the old guard was back. ”These” instead of “those”, those indicating the 11 steps that precede the 12th step, which is a result of those 11 steps, we had a spiritual awakening, which makes perfect sense to me. It also made perfect sense to the man who was inspired to make that change in 1953 along with adding ”We” before each step and changing alcohol to addiction. A few simple changes that significantly changed the lives of thousands of people now a worldwide endeavor. But now 35 years later we are told that steps the way they use to be were not good enough. I only wonder if these individuals get away with this, what will they do next. They send around the changes to meeting along with the message to stop using certain words that it is bad for newcomers and 20 newcomers disappear out of our Hollywood meetings, and the beat goes on. Where is it going to end? When I went to start petitions to stop the power madness by certain members of the fellowship who are not happy that they have all the positions of power in the organization. They get free plane trips all over the world, free hotel and meals, ambassadors to the unknown is what they should be calling themselves (laughter). Apparently, all the public adulation, all the freebies just are not enough. They now want to revise the literature and change the steps. Tell everyone how to talk and just generally run our lives, spiritual programs and control what we read protect us from words that might have something to do with sanity. What is all this bullshit about?

 

Now I know why they wanted for Jimmy to disappear, he was the only sane person left that they had to reckon with. He was the only one that would have told them they were crazy. I mean all right if we are all crazy because no one will know the difference. Now if we can just convince everyone else that we are sane and they are crazy then we will be all right. This is a group of lunatics. To change any part of this program or the steps is like going to Ford Motor Company and telling them to re‑design their engine because it does not work. To get back to reality, pardon my trip, when all this stuff came down at the last conference I was about as confused and unknowledgeable as anyone else. It has taken me several weeks to just comprehend information that I have and to reconstruct with help of conference participants what went on at that great gathering where that group of addicts got together to one more time save all of our lives.

 

It seems that according a member from England, I could not find anyone far enough a way from the problem or without the usual religious fanatical Ferber to talk about it. They offered us the changes to vote on we voted against them, so they tried to find a more palatable way of coming at us with them so that they could get the desired yes vote. When they did not get the yes vote, they went into an ad‑hoc committee to discuss them. After five days, they finally got their way and we went home. If you remove, the twelve votes that the Board of Trustees hold they seem to be voting in mass according to the minutes of the conference you would not have been able to get those changes through. I do not blame them for voting for change after all they did change the literature that they were asking everyone to cooperate with and vote on. They made those changes regardless of historical content or continuity or spirit of the literature that they violated. I feel like someone had torn up a Bible in front of me and I have to grin and bear it and work my perfect program. Well folks guess what I am not like a lot of you. I don’t have to look good all the time. As far as what you say about me, I don’t really care. When you discredit ten years of service and hard work in this organization by just summarizing my whole service career with “He is just a guy that we kicked out of the office and now he has resentment”, it really doesn’t matter. I saw how you treated my best friend and what you said about him and I would consider it an honor it you would treat me the same way. (laughter) I will promise you one thing though no matter what you say in your rebuttal, no matter how dishonest you become I will not lie about you the way you lied about me. I would not betray and desert you the way you did to me. I would not alienate you from your fellows and reject you as a human being because of what you think. I will not judge you in private and say other when I see your face. You can say whatever you want to at any meeting that I attend and I won’t pull you aside afterward and defile and violate your being by telling you the words that I don’t want to hear you say. Because I live in America and I am a member of Narcotics Anonymous and was told by an old man that I could be anything that I had to be until I discovered who I really was. I learned recovery the right way, the free way where conditions were non‑existent. What I was offered when I got here was love and along with it a responsibility which was offered to me unconditionally and would always be available to those who came after me. I know that I could turn and walk away. God know what my involvement in the past has cost me but maybe today it might just be a little different. After all aren’t I still an addict. Maybe this time it will be different and people will care when I tell them what I know and how I feel. Maybe a few addicts like myself will take courage and move ahead to our proper places as concerned members of Narcotics Anonymous who can accept that there is no such thing as a recovered addict. That there are no musts in NA does not exist anymore, that we have no leaders it has been eliminated. That this program is no longer a suggested program. That’s it from Doug F.

 

At this time, I would like to ask Fawn if she would like to say anything about where she left things off last night or in reference to anything she did not finish saying or about this letter.

 

Fawn: Hi, I’m Fawn I’m an addict. Did anyone have any questions? I don’t know I pretty much what I covered last night I finished. I think someone approached me this morning and asked me about what progress is being made in the way of putting some kind of text, a history text together. I have spoken to Betty quite frequently, Betty was Jimmy’s wife and she’s got lots and lots of file cabinets of archival history of Narcotics Anonymous, because Jimmy was a saver of a lot of stuff. Written correspondence, to and from individuals confirming that we were not apart of any that, we had no affiliation with the early NA in New York or Louisville Kentucky, Lexington I’m sorry. So anyway God knows what is there, it has been very hard to open up. She has moved a few times and she schleps all these file cabinets wherever she goes and she kept them closed for along time because it is painful for her to go through all this stuff. A few years ago, Lynn A. a friend of ours approached Bob Stone at the office and said that, that Betty was willing to turn all of these historical archives over to Narcotics Anonymous under one condition that they not be revised, edited, or changed in anyway because they represented NA, as we know it began. There was an immediate answer by Bob and he said No I can’t give you that condition because as soon as you give us something the office can do with it what ever we want to do with it. So under those conditions she said forget it. So now needless to say because of the events that had happened she is not very trusting to a lot of the people who are over anxious to get something going because of what you just heard and stuff like that. She was very apprehensive about whom to trust with this project to because she knows she cannot do it alone. So a few of us have been working on that and we are scheduled to meet with her either this summer or in the fall and we are going to start trying to put this stuff into some kind of order , by months maybe by years first, so that NA can have some kind of historical thing to go with. As far as the outcome of the project how it will ever get, if it will ever be approved, as we know literature how it gets approved today through the conference. I don’t know if it will ever happen that way and a lot of that should be understandable after the letter you just heard read here today, because a lot of our history affects those people who are still empowered. That is where the difficult part is going to come in because you know that’s it. From what I understand this is all, she has all this historical stuff and something is, she is ready. I know that there are some history workshops going on, I know there is one in Alabama in August. They are real excited about it I know they are handing out some flyers about it , I don’t know if you guys up here have received those fliers, if you haven’t I guess I can send some to Dave or Billy, and you guys can pass them out. So there is, workshops starting to happen and right now, what I think is going on is people are talking about the history because maybe that is the beginning of anything.

Just like with our Basic Text there was, as Bo will cover later there was talking of the idea for us to be discussed and talked about and then it starts to become something. Oh, great.

Grateful Dave addict. Had a couple of questions. Hi Dave, hi family. It is like part of the problem today as Douglas said in his letters that currently people who are in positions of power are still running our World Services and flying around. Our World Service Board of Director chairperson and the chairperson of our World Service Board of Trustees were some of the people that Douglas was referring to in that letter that stole Cry Help and Impact from Bill Beck is not that correct. That is one question.

 

Fawn: You want to know if that is correct. Well put it this way, Bill Beck was the Executive Director, Jack was the Assistant Executive Director, and these treatment centers were run by dope fiends for dope fiends. It was not very structured, they lived off donations from the community you know they would send vanloads of residents out to Safeway, and you know can you give us some bread to feed us. It was like a 6 to 9 month program and so it was not I do not know all the details, because I was a resident at that time at Cry Help and under the, when Bill Beck was the Executive Director. That is where I first heard it you know, I loved being there I learned a lot about myself and the program when I was there. I do not know what went down, I was not behind the board meeting, and all I do know is that Bill Beck took a typewriter home and a lot of times. Oh I know another issue that the board had of the treatment center was that, a lot of times we would do trading, like the printing company would give us paper if we sent a couple of the residents over there to collate. So it was like I think they charged them accused them of slave labor or something. No I do not recall when I was being a resident there of ever feeling like I was being used or mis abused or whatever.

 

The charge was ( ) misuse of federal funds for his own personal gain, and it was Jack Bernstein who was apart of that legal movement to get him. I just want people to know that we are being led by thieves, liars and punks. ( )

 

I have a , you know in that letter it talks about a north south rift, it refers to the north , south rift, just like today we seem to have an east west rift. Narcotics Anonymous, repetitive historical past that seems to be in that same direction today again. That north south rift, could you put more light on that.

 

Fawn: Well I know it had to do with, like the letter was talking about it had a lot to do with the AA terminology and literature being used in our NA meetings. You know back then you have to understand that most addicts were going to AA and NA. Na was not always as large so a lot of the people were going to both. A lot of the Trustees that are on the board today you know started out in AA. That is where NA was at back then. So there was a lot of resentment that was born when this movement started to happen about let NA stand up on its own two feet and be a fellowship onto its own and quit using AA’s literature and stop all these Tradition violations and that did not sit to well with some of the old timers. There has always been that competitive thing; you know who can do it better, who has got it stronger, who got more you, know.

 

I am addict, Yeswau by name. Hi Yeswau. See if I can word this right. I am trying to think how to say this and put it on a respectable level, instead of a street level. Ok, we got these people, this Board of Directors who have their foundation in AA, this is what I am understanding and they cannot seem to detach from that and be NA people to help Narcotics Anonymous. I guess my question is, it does not help me for somebody to tell me the board, or the directors. I need James this, Andrew that, Andre this, Sandra this, whoever the names are. What their position is and how we can write letters to them and tell them and tell them what we do not like what they are doing or whatever. And how we as the fellowship can organize to out, to remove them and put people who are responsible in those positions to continue the primary purpose of Narcotics Anonymous.

 

Fawn: Well all the, the information is available to everybody. It is in your World Service Conference meeting minutes. If you just take a little time and do your homework, you can see the names yourself, who made the motions, Read who is making the motions that is very important. The history of the conferences is another very important thing to understand. Early on in our history, everybody could vote ok. It is pretty much the way you have it now the board, the different boards all had a vote. Now another thing that was also possible back then was that these World Service subcommittees, if you wanted to be a member, if any NA member wanted to be a member they could. They were not closed subcommittees, anybody who was anybody in NA all you had to do was say you wanted to be apart of it. So you would try your best to fly yourself out to when they met and all that. Another thing that was happening at the conference was that as long as you were a member of a subcommittee you could talk, you could not vote but you could speak. So this is how a lot of shit got stirred up at the conferences, you Had a lot of people talking and a lot of movements going on at the same time, I mean this is how I saw it okay. There was a lot of confusion, but if you go through you meeting minutes, when the meetings were written back then, because I was secretary for two conferences in a row, I did names, I do not believe in this other shit. I did not always reveal the last names but lease I put the first name and initial, who made the motion, some of the discussion and was it carried or was it failed. A lot of times, you can sort of get a feeling for whom, you can see the movement being forged, and what you can really see when you look all through this is how the shaping personalities have shaped our World Services that is what has happened. My personal opinion is that because all these boards who have a vote and a voice at the conference. They represent nobody, nobody but themselves. How could they possibly feel and experience what a group conscience is a vote is alright not like an RSR could, so my feeling has always been if the RSR’s are the only ones who can vote because they represent someone they don’t even represent themselves technically, they represent their regions. If they would come to the World and that was all that was on the agenda, is what your region wants, there is no room for any of this other ego shit that going on. You know because these, too much is coming from the World down to my region and I know it is not coming from my region and going to the world. So that is kind of, I think how that was born was years ago in NA because of the I guess it is the overall mentality or the personality of the addict if somebody else will do it let them. The apathetic stuff you know with GSR’s, ASR’s and RSR’s it was always like ok you are our GSR, or you’re our ASR or you’re our RSR, go vote how you feel best for us. We will give you that vote of confidence you know so that is where your problems happen see. If you think about it, most of your people who are involved with service work are new in recovery. I do not know if all of them have worked all the steps or familiarized themselves. That is a very dangerous thing to put upon anyone you know I am going to vote how I see fit and hope that it is Gods will. So what you see happening is, I think it is very natural when you are overwhelmed and new in a big group of people you want to be heard you want to let people know, Hey I am on the ball I know what’s happening. So this is what happens because they can just arbitrarily just make a motion or when it has come from nowhere. So that is what I see as being the disease in our world services. That it has stopped being a group conscience endeavor. I mean regional reps may go there and vote certain ways but they are being manipulated and politicked when they get there because these issues were not talked about at home. I mean because I read these minutes and I never heard these issues in my area. My group never made a motion to do a lot of this stuff with the changing of our literature. So I think if we got back to the basics, open committees, a system of rotation more volunteerism and true group conscience, that we will heal our World Services. It starts with the group, it starts with you know how well are your business meetings going? Encourage the members to participate in the group conscience. Teach them the difference between a group conscience and a vote and expect more from our GSR’s and ASR’s and our RSR’s and this stuff will not happen. We have laid it all; we know what a group conscience is.

 

Yeswau: I understand that Betty has this compilation of material and she wants to put it in the proper place, in proper hands. Is there a group of concerned NA members like yourself who understand the sophistication of all of this and acquiring a place to put all this stuff and somebody to go through this and put our history in a chronological reasonable, rational, readable order so that us as NA members can read this? I mean are you going to get it printed. In other words, what is being done starting with today about getting this material together?

 

Fawn: Around the world there is a young by the name of Lynn up in New York, there are some people in California. I know that Lynn is a writer a professional writer, and I am a professional typist so I do not know. I don’t know what the final outcome will be, but I know that’s what is going to be started this year is that we are all going to meet and we are put it in some form and try to get the ball rolling. Does that answer your question?

 

Hi, I am an addict named Jodi: Hi Jodi. Before I get to the question, I need to share something briefly. First, I wish to make a statement that I never used the chemical alcohol and I never went through any treatment center, rehab, nothing. I am a pure NA baby and very proud of it. Recovery from the disease not only being clean is possible in NA only and I have a right to this fellowship NA, pure unadulterated NA, and I have a right to that. So I had to leave California, I could not find NA. There are two people in this room that have taught me something, very much. One person taught me a lot about the principles, the steps, the traditions, the politics, and the importance that personal recovery depends on this. We cannot run from this, our personal recovery depends on NA unity. I see people throwing up their hands not wanting to be involved but personal recovery depends on it. Someone else has taught me that sometimes our disease can get so lost in the intellectualism behind this and get so caught up and focusing on the politics that we lose the personal side of this. How is it affecting us, how is it affecting the newcomers. I see people throughout not wanting to get involved in the controversy and not understanding how this relates to them. Well what does history has to do with me, what does history has to do with recovery, what does history. I was talking to someone this morning that really pointed up that I would like this addressed because I heard a newcomer say and I have had the same experience that they tried reading the 5th Edition and they were not getting it. It was like a textbook to them and they were not understanding it. As soon as they got a copy of this unapproved rebellious outlaw 3rd edition revised, it clicked and this is what we are talking about here. This does affect our recovery. It affects the recovery of the members. It affected my recovery I living out there being fed lies and dying from my disease and not knowing what is wrong until I got the truth. It does affect personal recovery. In that area where the denial is so thick there, are addicts with 8 and 10 years clean killing themselves and not knowing why, because of this propaganda. Now that I know that, they are not hearing the NA message and hearing this propaganda is a lot of why these people have been killing themselves clean. You know an avoidance of the personal side of this, like the two extremes, you know the head in the sand versus the head in the clouds. My question is, I would like to know from Doug and I would like to know from Bo and from Greg and from you and all these people I would like to know your opinion on how this affects each member, their recovery and how it has affected your personal life. Because you know I found out I was pregnant yesterday and my immediate response was you know I had a material comfort in California and I am not having that here. But I have found NA and I have found recovery and my immediate response was I am going to go back to California and do the financially responsible thing and I am also here on a mission not only for my personal recovery, but on a mission so to speak. And what I have heard here, what I have heard here from each one of you has made me realize that money doesn’t solve everything, that we can be dead and rich from this disease. It has affected, this weekend has affected my personal life because I have decided to stay here. Someone said to me last night, my disease would love for me to go to California, it is true. So let us address how this is affecting the individual member and us that is kind of my question. Let us not get so caught up so in all these politics that we do not see that, cause it does. You know there are addicts out there dying because they do not hear the NA message, I know because I was almost one of them.

 

Fawn: Thanks for sharing. How has all of this affected me? It has made me angry, it has made me sad, it has made me feel powerless and ineffective like my hands are tied, there is nothing I can do so why do anything. That is pretty much the feeling. I remember when I had about four years clean and I quit. I was living out here and I called my girlfriend out on the west coast and I said, I can’t believe what happened, I can’t believe what happened, why did it happen it can not be Gods will. She said just remember every dog has its day. (Laughter) So I had to like that sounds good you know. I do not know I would like to see change come about in a peaceful way. I don’t get off on fighting like I use to, when I was younger in my recovery I had a lot of anger so I could get in there and roll my sleeves up and really get off on all that. It disturbs the little peace I have in my life today to hear what I hear and still feel those old feelings familiar again. It inspires me to see members who have come after me who have made a commitment not only to Narcotics Anonymous but also to try and make NA better for the newcomer. And I know that the people who make that commitment it is kind of hard to walk around peacefully and talk about these issues. Because when you love NA, when people are messing with it or distorting it as how you know it is to be it makes you angry. It is our life. Every now and then every meeting I go to I go by the literature displayed at the tables and one time my friend Leah said, Fawn why do you always go by the tables to look at the literature and I say I just want to make sure they have not changed our name yet. (Laughter) So anyway, that is how it has affected me. I am resolved to a lot of the things but there is still some old pain that I have not come to terms with. I am still confused about the way some things happened. I don’t really see anything, I don’t know because when I share with newcomers, I don’t share about these issues I just share about the program and they can’t take that away from me. Maybe if our literature is changed enough maybe I could see how it would affect the newcomer. You know if we changed the, you know sometimes taking out one word or inserting a new word can change a whole meaning and spirit of a paragraph.

 

Audience: This will be a real simple one for you because I am just going to ask for a yes or no when I am done with it. I am going to ask if maybe I am correct to assume something. Because I am going to assume something right now, okay. Jodi was just asking a question there and you basically talked about how it affected you but basic effects of history. If we had, I would assume that if we had our history documented put down all the issues that we have gone through from 1953, the growing process, the conference actual growth from when it started the office when it started the decision making process, how it evolved and where it has taken us today. That if we had all that documented I would be almost to assume that we had something to look at and be able to better clarify and make decisions in the home group on the direction we are going as a fellowship. But also, that it will protect us from ourselves from making bad decisions, from allowing a power structure from to be created then. If we could have that documented and see how it grew and how what we look at and say it is a power structure. The letter talked about old guard, the old guard, as I know to care is more of an old AA philosophy. Which is introducing an AA service structure to us basically right now. I a fellowship report to going to Columbia and really the World Service Office today endorsing them following the AA service structure. Helping to set that up overseas, same thing with the principles that there talking about with their concepts or whatever they want to call it today. But it is basically, you know the stuff we could see a lot better if we had our history documented. Would I be correct to assume that?

 

Fawn: I do not know. I do not know. I do not know if having all our history in black and white is, I cannot answer that. I mean how would I know.

 

Audience: Would you be able to see it if it was written, and say hold it. This has happened in the past, it did not work. It is documented here, it factual so why are we going in this direction again?

 

Fawn: Sounds good. (Audience) and I will tell you something else that really worked that was very effective. If you are really upset about what is going on at the World. On mass movements are very effective. I do not care, I mean one year at the conference there were people from all over Georgia who flew in, and hitch hiked, and showed up bare feet, barefooted. I mean they were there, Newcomers some with just 30 days you know they were committed to this effort. It was very impressive, so you know if we as a group band together impress upon the conference what our concerns are and demand that we get the answers that we are looking for. I have not lost hope in that process. I believe it can and should work. I am just as baffled by all of this as you are. I do not go to those conferences anymore. Until every one of them has resigned and I can be assured that none of their sponsees are, have taken their places I refuse to go. I have no interest; I think it should be on a rotation system. We need the freshness and the newness and giving everybody a chance.

 

I am Grateful Dave, I am an addict. Hi Dave. Hi Family. I am going to keep hitting this mic and you know I am going to ask questions but I am going to have to make them more like a statement because I am not getting direct answers. The purpose of our history at least in my viewpoint is for all of the people to sit down and say what they got to say and pull no punches and name names, everybody gets to say their thing, and it gets printed up. That is the history, and that is the discussion, everybody is perspective, right wrong or indifferent. Now I know a lot of stuff, I know a lot of stuff. I could stand up here all day with stuff that has been perpetrated on this fellowship in the name of the still suffering addict. The vile undertones, the manipulation, and the lies you know. Jimmy Kennon walking to the door of the World Service office and having a box kicked out, thanks for 32 years of answering the phones. You know I know about what I said about, because the man who wrote that letter told me what happened. I know Stu Tordman and I know Jack Bernstein, I have been knowing them for years. They have been lying to us for years. They lied to you just recently on the telephone. So let us get real. Bob Stone was there and Bob Raymar was there. They just appeared, they just showed up one day at the World service Office and nobody knew who they were or where they came from. There was letters sent from the WSO all to the east coast and personal phone calls made by these people to make Jimmy look like a schmuck and get him kicked out. There was lies told and those people are still controlling the fellowship, the Chuck Skinners, the Chuck Gates the Raymars , the new generation the Houlihans and these people are perpetrating a hoax on us in the name of the addict who still suffers. So we got to have this truth told, and I come up to the microphone and people say Well God damn Dave you are angry. Well you are fucking right I am angry because I have been involved with these people for six years plus. And I know them, and he knows them and we know them and you guys do not know them and you cannot believe that this shit goes on in Narcotics Anonymous because you go to NA as such, which is the home group where everything is warm and fuzzy and everybody loves one another and everything is all fucking spiritual. Well let me tell you something that is not reality that is not reality. There are millions and millions of dollars that being played with that belongs to God. It does not belong to a corporation it does not belong to anybody. This message , our book belongs to God. Give it to them for 50 cents give it to them. Who needs a World Service Office to get bigger and bigger and bigger? They ain’t doing nothing, but perpetrating a great big hoax on this fellowship in the name of the addict who still suffers. There are 70, 80, 100 people that go to a World Service Conference and do not do anything that we do in our home groups, and all it takes is one trip. Open your eyes, open your mouths tell the truth. Bo knows stuff, you know stuff , I know stuff, Forrest knows stuff, and Billy knows stuff. We know shit that would make you sick and make you crawl out the door, but we are still here clean carrying the message. And the truth is something that we desperately need. Now I am going to back off, but and I am again, and I am going to these question quote statements slash but we need direct answers. But Sally Evans friend Jacqueline Lear gets hired before the World Service Conference for $100.000.00 dollars to write “ It works , How and Why” and the literature committee comes up with a new idea oh boy we didn’t approve anything professionally written before but now we’ve got this great new idea, lets hire professional writers . Only lets pay them, they are addicts so that we can control them. That is what you are going to be reading from now on. That is what that 4th and 5th Edition is they were never conference approved. It was dope fiended on the floor, when are going to wake up. That literature, a pamphlet, get a pamphlet, go to a printer a quarter of a cent quarter of a cent. Go to a copy machine you can have pamphlets in your home group for a penny.

 

Fawn: Dave, Dave, I am telling you the answer is you will take,( Grateful Dave saying, the answer is to do something different) You will take power away from these people who represent no one if you insist that regional reps vote their groups conscience. There is nothing else to discuss, there is no under handed, under the table motions. There is no getting wined and dined with dinners , promises being made that you will get this or that. I mean think about from the individual GSRs if, we did service more in line with that, we would not have this out of control nonsense that we see. Because you know you have to ask yourselves ok the conference keeps saying that it is fellowship approved because all the regional reps voted on it I cannot believe it, I mean I cannot believe that what is making a lot of regional reps from NA go, think, deciding these things. So I would assume that they are misinformed when they get there, do not know all the facts, and are being taken off to the side and told well this will be so good for NAs and this is why you should vote this way. It is like a political party. You know I am really getting, there are some other people here who can answer questions to. I do not want to be like the person who knows all the answers cause I really do not. Thanks Fawn….Applause

 

The first thing I need to say right now is that we are leaving the letter and basically we are going into the 1980 conferences from 1980 to now, a basic area where Fawn was not involved . She went to the point where she could answer the questions on up to her involvement, and to go any further with that there is basically being another section of this here later, and we go over the conference through the eighties after the Basic Text stuff and go through that process, literature process. We have people here like myself, Bo, Forrest that have been involved in World Service Conference for an extreme period of time during the eighties that can better facilitate them kind of questions. You know that is a real extreme period of emotional growth and maybe lack of growth at times that we have gone through. That is some of the stuff we are going to get into later on this agenda, and if anything any questions need to be ask in reference to the letter or that should be it and I think we have gone beyond that at this moment. I think Fawn did a really great job and I think she did a beautiful job for us last night. They are going to bring lunch in here and what we want to do next is go into the Basic Text stuff next, the literature process itself which I think that is really important. Because Fawn ( ) to some things that I believe made it possible for real early literature stuff, was committee stuff and that stuff will be shared in the openness of our literature process in the early days which I was introduced to. You know and that is going to be real valuable information and I think we owe Fawn another applause and thank her, cause I am in gratitude for her participation here. If you want to go have a cigarette quick, go have a cigarette and come back we will have lunch in this room. Applause…..

 

 

Tape Four

Allentown History Literature Addathon 1990

Speaker; Bo S

 

My name is Bo, I am an addict. Hi Bo. Hey everybody, well I am glad to be here, part of me does not want to be here, and I tried to say my prayers a while ago. What I am going to try to do is not play it smart and you know I really think the pickle we are in today is only going to be healed when a succession of members come out of the hole and speak the truth and then there will be some good in that and some harm in that . But at lease it will be real and a real we can live with and carry on. I am not afraid and I am not saying this with any sense of embarrassment or negative anticipation. You know we have grown a lot and exist as a fellowship under a set of pressures and financial concerns and legal considerations and interactive boards that may at times either forget that they are directly responsible or it is hard to see that they are responsible based on their actions.

 

Let us see I guess I served at world for about ten or eleven years. I was probably involved at world probably like twelve years, and for the past year and a half I have not held any elected position at Narcotics Anonymous and I sort of feel like and alumni or something, like I am still involved and still play a role just not in any official capacity, nor do I wish to. I feel like I am lucky to have escaped with my life, my clean time and my sense of humor and my faith and to have gotten to see the miracles that took place. Because I was very very very very spoiled all of us were, we were very fortunate. You know going back to what I originally said though just about winging it. , see the chance is if I made a series of intended carefully prepared statements then it might come off better to you people but then I might miss out some ambient thought that God might put in my mind and then that might trigger some good thing in you and so I would rather go with the ambient thought. Of course, we can also cover some other more like technically correct ground. I am also glad this is something I have thought about the last few weeks coming up on this. I am glad that I do not hold any elected position, I am glad that I am not seeking any elected position. Because for years I mean I had to function under constraints, like one way I would phrase my membership on the Board of Trustees was I am required to do many things and there are certain things I cannot do. And functioning within those constraints I mean it is a lot of change from being a using addict to a clean addict. I got use to reading that much paper a month, I started losing my eyesight. I was out of town thirty out of fifty weekends I was at world services and what was killing me was I thought a lot of money was getting spent on me and it wasn’t doing the people no good. It started tearing me up inside and making me feel guilty, so I am glad I am out. The other nice spin off is I can come and meet with members of the fellowship like we are doing today and share things in hopes that it will help others, we got a lot of help.

 

One thing and you know just kind of picking up on some of the things Fawn was sharing and some of the things Doug shared in his letter. We came in to the picture in the mid 70’s, we were east coast, and there were no meetings in Narcotics Anonymous in Atlanta Georgia when I got clean. I tried to start Narcotics Anonymous in 1971; I had spent three more years out there. This buddy of mine had gotten in AA so at the end of one of my marriages, I went to see my buddy Jim and his wife Rachael and sure enough, they were there and then a month later they announced and started holding this NA Meeting. By then I didn’t even want to go, but you know I guess I was just curious. Then I was back at that meeting every Friday night for five years, and I noticed there was something real special about that meeting out of all the other meetings I was going to. And I guess there was something special too about the way the AA’s treated me because I didn’t sit and say I was an alcoholic or anything I said my name is Bo and I am an acidhead , my name is Bo and I’m a speed freak. I would notice the people at the close of the meeting some of them would jump up with this one expression on the face and run towards me and others would jump and intercept them. I think the interceptors intercepted them because they knew I was not kidding that I was sincere. I guess that is why. Anyway, every time they had a NA meeting then I would stop going to AA meetings, then there were seven meetings a week in Atlanta, and I have not been back to AA for recovery for oh along time, ah 13 years. I celebrated my 16th year anniversary last Tuesday, thank you. But there are addicts in AA and those addicts in AA helped me, and the alcoholic addicts in AA the ones that were sincere understood and helped me.

 

You know when it came to the Basic Text they helped me, because this one guy says, well as long as you stick to what you actually experienced nobody in the world can say that you’re wrong. The instant you drift off into theory or conjecture almost anybody can pick you apart. So when I got elected world lit chair and was able to spearhead the movement, I repeated that to people and in open committee I would say stay away from them good ideas and stuff keep it real addict clean recovery experience. So that was our constant yardstick and that’s what we held up, that was the measure, any piece of input we would hold it up to that yardstick and if it didn’t stack up in terms of addict experience it didn’t get in the Basic Text. Even though it might sound neat as a pin, you know we did not want any cool lines that would kill. You know there were other small but good things, some of the good will was important. Anyway, well just I guess leaving that thing on AA for a moment. It is just real impressive to me considering the monstrous nature of our disease how much they were able to do before we finally started growing. How much good and how much love and how much gentleness and how much mutual respect of course they had to earn their stripes and it did not come easy and of course we are having to earn our stripes and it ain’t coming easy. I mean, does that mean you want me to speak up, oh okay, just checking. Oh, I bought these picture books, kind of, like family albums but y’all can look at them, just do not steal no pictures please. But, anyway, I guess if you are going to hear about lit workers then it might do to see some. There are a lot of other shots in there but they were just a mess in the drawer so I stuck them in those books. Anyway I had had a little bit of college, I had born like, you know one of those families you see on TV where one part of the family has millions and millions of dollars and then there is the poor relatives, well that was like me. But I knew some of my uncles and so forth and I knew that you know money never impressed me worth a damn not in and of itself. I was on this sort of like quest for answers; I mean I went to coffee houses, beatniks. I can remember the first time I heard the word hippie I use to have hair longer than anybody in this room and had a gold earrings, and then somebody said , no gypsies put it on the other ear, so I had the pierce the other ear to be cool. I am trying to get some of my background because it was of, and the beatniks put a lot of sort of like respect for like. Generic spirituality, I mean it would be Hinduism, the Zen Buddhism and the just Buddhism and then reading about Jack Karoacks on the road and then something about Catholicism or Judaism or Christianity or Muhammadism. I run into a fellow last year who gave me almost the whole Koran on cassette tapes in Arabic and English and listened to it all, he was a Saudi national. So and I am still that way so I was like hungry to know and this that and the other.

 

So the lie that went down in Sheriff Ingisto at the seventh World Convention in San Francisco said and he did the official welcome cause like in those days they would get some prestigious personality to do it and an official welcome to the city to the World Convention for Narcotics Anonymous. So Sheriff Ingisto says lies, he went into the power of lies, and he says they use to burn witches at the stake because they use to ride around on broomsticks and because they cause little babies to die and stuff like that and then they would burn them at the stake. He said you guys are today witches and you get burned at the stake everyday. It was impressive to me to hear the sheriff of San Francisco saying this. Then later that weekend you know I was from Georgia and in San Francisco and in those days in 1977 there were very few members from the east coast fellowship in San Francisco. So I would sort of try to play it cool and then they had been telling us and we had been repeating that addicts in recovery can’t write and so we believed what we were told and kept repeating that. Until one day we started questioning it, like what do you mean by that they have not tried writing, they tried and cannot write well or they do not write much, or what do you mean exactly. Because you know when you think about there have always been addicts and some of the addicts were writers, musicians or painters and I had been a beat nick so I wanted to know what this was, you know the deep inner meaning of this phrase we had been repeating was. So finally I got the answer in San Francisco, it means that they have never tried at least not on any scale. Then there were these rumored pieces of input for the Basic Text there were supposed to exist, they may still exist but I have never found them.

 

I started asking people at the World Convention just in the hallways like who I can talk to find out who is working on our book so we can help them you know I am from Georgia dah dah da. Hey, here is a guy from Georgia you know and he wants to find out who is working on the book, so they would introduce me to one and then another you know. I was getting tired of asking my questions but I finally met the chairperson of the Board of Trustees (Laughter) and you bet your sweet ass that I held on. So that was Greg and the interesting thing happened was that he would go this way and I would got that way with him, but then lo and behold I could go this way and he would go that way with me, so somehow we were connected. So we went, we played this game around the hotel for the next four or five hours and finally we surrendered to the fact that we were really were going to talk about what was going with the Basic Text. So we went up to his room and he showed my about fifteen or twenty pages that were written by George S. on the steps and it was NA material and it was on the steps and it was written by an addict and it was fairly good stuff some of which is in the Basic Text today. You know and outside of this one guy the big trouble they had even sent out a mock letter from the WSO saying like there is a movement under way to write the NA Basic Text, and we already have plenty of input send us some more. It was like one of those add gimmicks you know (Laughter) send us some more, like do not miss your chance and they couldn’t get nothing in there it was just pitiful. I am going to take my watch off so I don’t get weak and worry about what time it is because that really shouldn’t be important, we have waited to long enough to share. So anyway later he gets to talking and says well you could come down to Los Angeles with me and spend a couple days and I’ll take you to one of the oldest NA Meetings in the world, you could go by the WSO, would you like that. I said no I had better get on home I got some work to do and so forth. So I gave in, come around, and was down there three or four days did get too go to all of those places and met Jimmy for the first time, which we had talked on the phone and written letters. Like one question from the hotel room was like who can help with the Basic Text, he said well any member, I said really, and he said really any member. I said that was pretty interesting considering nobody has and we talked some more and went on. Oh, I just remembered, see well I will get to this in a minute. But I had forgotten that I had written some stuff before I had ever gone out there because of some of my weirdo background like I wasn’t afraid, like I did a mock 4th Step even though it was stupid when I was just 6 months. I figured I would just write a mock 4th Step because like what is the harm, you know nobody is even going to know unless I tell them, it may be a good laugh later on you know good practice. God people were scared of that step in the old days. Anyway, I had gotten carried away and I had written like a chapter outline what the hell else maybe a few notes. Anyway, I showed that to Greg, but between San Francisco and leaving LA 3 or 4 days later, I said well I am going to write some stuff and send it in and I will try to get some other people to and you are in world services you route the stuff to whoever is working on it.

 

History update here, 1973 to 1975 the NA Tree was written.

In 1976, the first conference was attempted and I think there were a couple of people there.

In 1977, the second conference was attempted and one member showed up and this was at the World Convention in northern California in San Francisco. The one member that showed up for the World Service Conference was from southern California, the northern California RSR did not even show, that is how grim it was in those days, we were very small in those days.

 

So anyway, structurally for me as an average member to agree to write something and send it in there was really no other place to send it to. There was no executive community of the WSC exactly I don’t think and there was only one RSR that showed up so there was hardly a functional lit committee to send it to so the board would have been the only place that anyone could have sent it to in those days. So anyway, I said you know hell I will write something and send it in and then it will probably be awful but it will encourage somebody else to write something. There were more dreamy times later on but that was like the beginning. So I got home and you know I had rigorously worked on my steps and I viewed all this stuff as like holy and just surrounded with the yellow light and stuff like that and I would sit down and try to pretend like it. Oh I know before I had gone out there I had wrote my story at a meeting on a Sunday on the Fourth of July and nobody showed up, so I made the coffee set out the literature, and then wrote my story and sent it to the WSO. So I would do that some more except we have a lot of topic discussion meetings in Georgia so I would just write like on a topic like resentments kill or spiritual principles or honesty or whatever. I would just hold forth a page or two or three and then that was it and I would go on to another topic and just kind of make get in a state of mind like I was at a meeting and I was sharing with other members which I was use to doing. Then I would just write on it, okay and what this did.

 

Oh and then I had thirty or forty pages and went to Zayres and spent fifty dollars and bought myself a little plastic typewriter and type it up. So I wrote Greg this and sent him the typed copies, of course the letter line was a little like that but you could read them. I found it was different on the typewriter because my thoughts would come clearer and I mean along with addiction I probably dyslexic and other kind of crap that I refuse to even consider, you know I have got enough diseases. You know it was legible when it got out there and so a whole year went by and I sent him about sixty pages and I had about thirty or forty and it was time for the next World Convention. I hate to hog the show in what I am sharing right now but I mean there was nobody else writing at all anywhere. So a year later and I was trying and I was beginning to learn how to encourage other members within the structure and the spiritual boundaries. A year later, I flew down to New Orleans and met Greg there, we went out and made photocopies of some of this other stuff that I had written, and we talked about it. Then we flew over to Houston to the World Convention there. I will never forget about one night that the man who is now my sponsor was sharing on the history of Narcotics Anonymous from the podium and I was out in the back of the room. I do not know if I heard the whole thing or not but if any of y’all have heard Bob B. Houston that is the history I am talking about. One of the things he says, and about the Basic Text, who knows where the Basic Text is going to come from, maybe from one of you newcomers who is walking in the door today. Like I am in the back of the room right and you know what I had been doing for the last year. I knew a little bit about the impasse right then, the psychology was that you know the esteemed old timers in Narcotics Anonymous you know they are like selfy, facing humble people and they are so spiritual and none of them wants to make the first move but eventually they will write our Basic Text. Because they are so, cool and we are so fucked up. (Laughter)

 

Now the flip side of the coin is World Services really was kind of noble and wise and cool by then and you know I perceived them as esteemed old timers and beloved old timers. People I could go to with hurting and really trust and get good answers from Chuck Skinner from Jimmy Kinnon from Cliff Craft from Dennis McGoffren from Bob Barrett. They were like friends and they were totally 100%. See they had gone through a period like we are going through for twenty years of no Basic Text. Took them a long time, just took a long time to get the little White Booklet took them a long time to get the office. So they was by then, they were grateful for whatever they got see, and they were together on their story and they were 100% sold on Narcotics Anonymous and its principles. They did not give us an ambiguous message I mean clean and sober was a prevalent phrase in those days but beyond that they were solid on NA and solid on membership and solid on building Narcotics Anonymous and that is what they transferred to people like me. So anyway I just bided my time because you know if you are on good spiritual ground the world will come to you, you do not have to go to it just wait for the right time to come. Sure enough, Bob was done with his history workshop, I just waited by the door and along come Bob, and I say can I see you for a minute. So he says, sure what’s up, and he had already said on his sharing when somebody asks him about the book he says what have you done for the book. I said I want to talk to you about the book and he said what have you done to help about the book. I said I have 100 pages up in Greg’s’ room, you want tot see them, and he went like I got to get washed up first. I said can I wait with you and he got washed up and we went on up to Greg’s room and he took a look at it. I do not think a dozen people in the world have read what was in, between the index finger and the thumb, but at least an addict wrote it. So the next thing that happened I think beside us all going home was I think a few months later Jimmy asked me to write a letter about the work that was going on with the Basic Text. So I did and it was mailed out from WSO with literature orders from the fellowship. I said why do you want me to write this letter and he said we just do that’s all. I said I am not elected to do that and I don’t think it would be proper and he says, it is ok you are on the WSO Lit Committee plus the Board of Trustees Lit Committee and I said am I really you know I didn’t know that. He said never the less you are. Finally, I agreed to write the letter and I think, I did not plan this but I think I am going to read that. Oh God can I find it. Yep, found it.

 

Dear Members;

Several NA members in groups around the country have begun the work that we hope will result in the creation of our definitive text. We need an original book combining the basics of our program with fifty to a hundred stories of recovery in Narcotic Anonymous. We need a book that tells in detail what we have learned over the years about the problems faced by newcomers (Would you read this for me, I get a little fucked up at times like this) and old timers alike. Of course, there is a wealth of resource material available from other programs but it will always be there and we really need some of our own. The articles relating the experience of recovery in general. How we successfully face our problems in everyday, living. And how we actually work, our steps will contribute directly to the development of our book. We have only to tell it like it is. If this sounds like a big deal, it is. Our newcomers and groups in isolated areas do not know what to do in many cases and too many have floundered and died out. If we can combine our love and strength in this effort, we can give them many of the answers we have found for ourselves and other groups. Many addicts are reluctant to write but in practically every area where there are NA meeting there are some who can help if encouraged to do so by fellow members. Without encouragement they often hold back from fear of ego or simply because they do not know the need. We want our book to be as complete as possible and truly representative of NA as a whole. This means that we need input from you and your help encouraging and supporting of others. Those who have already begun this work find that fear of self‑drops quickly away. We have found that our Higher Power once more does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We need only offer ourselves and we will be used in this service. We realize that some will be skeptical about this effort but were really not doing this for selfish reasons. People who could be helped are dieing everyday from our disease. A book telling the story the story of recovery in Narcotics Anonymous would make our program more available to them. A few of us cannot do it alone we need your help. Please send your stories, articles and other input to, World Service Office Literature Committee, 391 Cranville Street, Marietta, Georgia 30060. This way all input can be made available to the various members and groups working on this project. If you also wish to make your name and address available to those working on the literature development, please notify us by mail. Rest assured that a working manuscript based on your experience and the experience of others who contribute will be circulated within the fellowship prior to publication.

 

Daniel McGee,

Atlanta Georgia

 

Ok I am Daniel by the way. I get criticized sometimes for being like intellectual and dealing with things on a mental level or something. What really is, this is probably another disease right but I just get like overwhelmed by my feelings, so I have learned that in a crisis, if this building was to fall in I would figure out a remedy or way to get out with a maximum number of people alive. I am great in crisis, it will hit me four or five hours later you know but when it happens I am cool as a cucumber apparently. But there is a lot of stuff happening on the inside, but reading that stuff or thinking about how beautiful those days were is just like overwhelming because it was not a daydream it all happened and that is the way it was, we wanted it good and so it was good. Well anyway as a result of that letter things happened like, the members who received that in Australia started sending in input. We found out there were meetings I places like Barcelona and Calcutta and I don’t think they ever sent any in I think Germany was always on the mail list, I can’t remember them sending anything, I know Australia sent written material and a cassette tape or two. But they were not just welcome in a tokenistic manner I mean anything they sent in was taken seriously by us as if it was someone across the street or within the continental United States. The letters back were as friendly because I read some of that Dale Carnegie stuff and you know we get like one little piece of input from somebody, and we weren’t given like a Joe college rah rah rah letter. It was just like as serious as we could put it and we really appreciate your input and please write some more, and thank you so much, and here is how it is going. Try to write deliberately, intentionally write a letter so good back to them that they would be embarrassed and send us more input (Laughter) and you know it worked they would . We just thanked them until they believed it you know and then they would send some more input. Because we had to keep the faith because we knew we were building basically a spiritual movement, and you know you just cannot break the faith, you just can’t. You can do a lot of things but you cannot break the faith. So we won these peoples hearts so they would send workshop stuff and write input and I would be talking to them on the phone and I’d say well have you sent anything in yet and they’d say no but I am getting these other people to. I said they ain’t going to send nothing in and they would say why and I said because you didn’t.

 

They are not going to do it if you have not done it. They would go like, well ok then I will. You know the part is that we always want people to do what we ought to do, and then they will not do it so they are fucked up and of course, we are all right; you know it is a game that goes around. Once they had sent in their contribution then they were capable of getting others people to do it. They would say look I sent mine is so you can send yours in, or you think that you are better than me and then they would like I will send something then. You know we just continued this along with all the other things that we were doing. I chaired the World Convention in Atlanta in 1979. My second child was born two days after the World Convention, my wife dreams that year of going to the World Convention as chair with my wife pregnant out to here and getting called away. You just have to get someone else to chair the convention I got to go to the hospital.

 

Anyway, I am just saying it was like busy times but we kept putting out these letters and kept getting input and trying to respond promptly with good letters and getting more input. The west coast did not believe about the input they were not getting it I would say like 300 pages and that would not work so I would say 3 stories and 15 articles and that would not work. So I finally got down to pounds I said we now have 10 pounds (Laughter) and I do not think they bought it but they thought well like pounds what do you mean pounds. Finally, we had like 800 pages going into Lincoln, Nebraska. That letter went out In the spring and so I went to conference that year and I guess basically on the strength of recommendations of old timers that I had me. Like Fawn had saying, newcomers voted in those days, but well it was not just like oh you remember so in so nice that you are here you to have a vote. It was more as if if you were the one, if as if five members came from Texas 1 would vote, if one member came from Arizona, one would vote if one member came from New Jersey 1 would vote. One member came from New Jersey, voted, and moved to LA without ever having gone home. Which was good because he had charges on him and if had gone home he would not have come back for a few years. So I got elected World Lit Chair and that was all like real heavy I can remember up to that point , world services was a miracle and oh those people at the office are so cool and oh those trustees are so cool and all these conference officers and stuff . I mean I was not ragged out on it but it was rather neat, it was neat to be in California. So like when you get elected to “Chair”, I should take this microphone down and prance around a little bit. “Chair of the World Lit Committee” (Laughter) you know, good to meet you, yes you can touch me and I mean it is like “Hey hey hey hey hey(sounds like an Indian dance around the fire) “I mean like deep in the heart of your recovery you know there is a lie right.(still laughing)

 

Then I got to thinking about all those people dieing and shit like that and kind of brought me back down to earth and you know the long time we had gone we so many doing so little, so rarely. I kind of got back on track, me and Greg talked about like if we can just get some input coming in and then if we have a solid positive response. If we keep, faith with the people then there will be more input and then more response. Then we will have to get together somehow and have like a work session or something probably like a conference and then we will you know figure out a way to start putting it into a topic outline or book form or something , that was kind sort of like what the dream was. But as this stack of poundage grew from several ounces to several feet I mean yeah about it started becoming a lot more real to us you know this is not just a joke this is real stuff and it don’t do away . It is there on Monday, and it is still there on Tuesday and it still may be there on Friday.

 

We had to like push ourselves into the future and say like what would we do if we had one of these big conference things, what could we do. We actually we talked about that the year I was elected I was learning some World service savvy and group conscience so I just put it on the group. I thought wherever y’all would like to have the World Lit Conference is where it will be. Y’all just make your bids or something because if you done the World Convention you do it right. So they went for it and picked the San Francisco or this place or Atlanta or Wichita and Wichita got it. Well I was happy as a duck, I didn’t give a rats ass where it was you know as long as it was someplace that I could get to. Wichita was fine because that is between the east and the west coast so talk about neutral ground. People who had to fly or drive in, sort of fair Wichita are out there in the middle. We finally got there input was still coming in and letters and things were still going out. Our guidelines consisted I think of one sentence, WSC organizational chart, officers,( flip tape/ side two) we back on yet, to collect, compile and review material prior to presentation to the WSC or the fellowship for approval. One sentence, so what we wanted to talk about in Wichita was a plan of action. Okay we got some input, we got some people interested you know our little world service conference got subcommittee chairs, more RSRs this year than last year things are doing better. I think the entire gross sales of WSO in 1978‑79 are less than $10,000.00 but we were growing.

 

So when we got to Wichita, I opened the conference with these words, so now what are we going to do. So we went around the room and you and you, you expressed your opinion of what would be good to do, and what we were capable of doing. Therefore, by time we had made the rounds we kind of formulated what we were going to take on and try to accomplish during this three‑day conference, out on the Great Plains or wherever Wichita is. It sure felt funny being out there, it was sort of, like a shopping center and then a little place down the lower level and you could park your car and walk in and like the Chamber of Commerce had offices in there and community groups could rent them out. So there was not a lot of space but it was reasonably okay and we had some copy machines some good typewriters. (Audience: How were they acquired)? Well they were just there I mean they were there from the Chamber of Commerce, just like part of the deal. That is okay, ask me questions because we are a group, this is a spiritual service body.

 

So anyway what we settled on was discussing the different categories like what is NA literature, well it can be a book but it can also be pamphlets and IP’s it can also be newsletters. Well how is the Literature Committee organized, how do you deal with the paperwork, how do you raise funds within traditions and service structure and all that. See this was absolutely not written down anywhere I mean there was not even another committee that had this stuff that we could follow suit, copy their stuff, and plug in our names. So each workshop discussed these things like from the bottom up and left residue of minutes and notes and stuff. Now I am not going to drag it out anymore in that but it was a good feeling there. The committees did their work well, the minutes of those committees were atrocious I think one or two had a good set of minutes. I spent all my time buzzing around from committee to committee and occasionally we would come together and talk about everything and kind of report to one another and then go back in to our little workshops.

 

I remember a funny moment in the back when they were talking about the fund raising thing and the workers came up with the idea of actually putting it in there for fund raising purposes within our fellowship. How much is a human life worth, and that sort of struck me, I remember that striking me very hard at the moment. We go home and we had some paper, we had not looked at it very close yet, no, we left it there with Cliff H. So I am on the phone every few weeks Hey Cliff, how you doing, yeah the weathers fine how are the minutes coming Cliff. You know I had promised them you will be sent a copy of the minutes and da da da registration was like twelve dollars or something. The weeks were going by and I had not done it yet and it started eating away at me you know and I kept calling Cliff up being nice and like how’s it coming Cliff , how is it coming Cliff you know a month or two goes by. Finally I just said Cliff just send me the minutes, I will get them typed here, you know it was horrible it was killing me. He really didn’t want to do that and said No I can’t do it, and I said just tell me why, it doesn’t matter I am your buddy you can trust me just tell me why, and he said cause I will feel like a failure. I said oh come on you are a trusted servant what the hell, where we come from you come on. So he thought about it and like well okay, I will send them, and he did and I got three separate excellent typists secretary type people come to my place and take the minutes away and they were going to type them up and they did not do it. This is with the (Dum da dum dum) deadline approaching, you know the 90‑day deadline back in those days for the WSC, had to be in the mail 90 days before the conference to count to even have a chance for approval. This was mainly just minutes right and the main thing were to get them out as soon after Wichita as we could. These people kept bringing me back these minutes un‑typed and embarrassed and funny looking. So I am chair and am assiduously trying to be chair, not secretary I will not type them. Finally knuckles under and go and look in there and I find out why nobody has typed them. I mean as if one committee actually created a numeric code to where the minutes were a sequence of numbers relating to these topics. It was just like barbaric and it really did make since if you could dig it. The question was did you want to dig it that much or not?(Laughter) You know those secretaries must have felt awful sorry for us and then others were just sort of like rough but they were there and one or two of them were done very well. I was really felt like I was up a tree; I had some cassettes, still have some cassettes tapes from Wichita, Lincoln and Memphis. It is really your Basic Text being written on cassette tape and I tried when I was a trustee to get the WSO to consider making a two hour cassette out of it cause then you could hear your Basic Text being written and they wouldn’t have nothing to do with it, but maybe someday. What I did was transpose it I tried to do it like minutes because that it like minutes right, you got like a header and then roman numeral and then “a and b” and it was okay on some sections but on other sections a lot of stuff was getting left out. So I just thought well I will just type it in roughly cause why the hell not you know nobody is watching me and we are so late anyway and in each section I will just put in everything I remembered that was brought up and discussed .

 

Well what happened then was I looked at it the next day and it was making since but it seemed kind of dumb to go back and try to put that into a topic outline form or minutes. God step in the form of a printer named Phil Page down there in Marietta and he says you can take that there to Marietta reprographics and they would probably typeset that for $25.00. I said are you kidding Phil why would they want to do that. He says I could print it into a booklet, I said well let me think about this, so I went home and called Greg and called this one and the other one. I do not know how we were doing with our local lit committees in those days, there probably were not that many. We kicked it all around, it was like this was a collection of all the thoughts and ideas that related to the NA Basic Text, plus newsletters, and IP’s plus forming a committee even. Well this is much more than minutes, and it would still go out to people because it has the same contents as the minutes. We will just put another cover page on it and call it The Handbook for NA Lit Committees. How is that guys, everybody said yes so we did it. We got it typeset and print and I think we had to do the collating, folding and stapling ourselves, but that was okay I called a ton of people up and fifty or sixty people showed up and we worked all evening one night and just sent out hundreds of them, to anybody we had an address on. We were no longer worried about anything, after the idea of it becoming a handbook then approval became an issue. Then we realized it really did not have to be approved to be a handbook because we were just going to use it internally and then we were going to sell it for two dollars to be a fund raising item to but stamps and paper and stuff for world lit and make phone calls. It got approved at the conference and came out through WSO so we did not get nothing but it was approved some how even though it did not go through the 90 day process. We would just keep a straight face when things like that happened and be grateful. You know at least the plan of action to get a Basic Text plus newsletters plus these other things. At least that was written and it was out there and at least it was doing some good. That is the story of that came about.

 

I did not think too much about who was going to be chairperson of the World Lit Committee the next year. Several people ran hard for it my name was put for nomination and I thought yeah that is good, and then I was elected. There had been some problems. Some IP’s were suppose to have gone out that never went out and I classed that as just some unfortunate things that happened and it was just apart of our early history. It could have gone differently but if it had then some other things would not have been possible. Now I was World Lit chair and we had a conference and we were suppose to send out some IPs, but first two people interested literature from Marietta but first they had to be printed at WSO and it was only the final forms that could be printed because they were changed, minor word changes in conference. Well I had left those at Jimmy’s house and he had taken some gold and jewels out of this box and showed them to me. Then he took me to the airport. I had started to get photocopies and I did not get photocopies so the only copy in the world was at his house. He had stuck it away in that little jewelry box for most of that year and had forgotten where it was. So for months I was calling him saying well “hey he” along with checking on the minutes after we had done Wichita you know how is them IPs coming, when we going to see them IPs. Well we never did see those IPs exactly and I have still never seen the originals. It is kind of interesting how God worked it because there kind of damned me for not sending out these IPs like that was one of your main things and you blew it, I went like yeah I did blow it you know but we will get them out next year as soon as WSO sends them to us. Of course, they never sent them to us so they never went out, but had they come to us we would have sent them out just as we sent out some other stuff ok.

 

So we planned another conference the conference again picked the site, the conference again voted on it. Again, I was well pleased with their choice, this time it was going to be in Lincoln, Nebraska right after the World Convention in Wichita. Now the World Conventions was following where the lit conferences were somewhat. So a lot of people showed up in Wichita for the World Convention and then they went to Lincoln the next week a bunch of them like 25 or 30 of them went to Lincoln the next week for the Lincoln Literature Conference and that was set to run like between Tuesday to the following Sunday. So we left the World Convention on Sunday went to Lincoln and the lit conference started on Tuesday to run to Sunday. Then we had had another year a lot of local lit committees had been formed and I was World Lit Chair so I found out I could get away with saying well I think any local lit should be a co‑chair at World Lit and we should act accordingly. I didn’t know that that would not be a good move, but what I didn’t count is members in service don’t take their service efforts seriously if they are not taken seriously, and by making them co‑chairs of world lit and treating them like co‑chairs they come alive and started becoming capable of miracles. The Basic Text is evidence. I had a checklist and I wrote a list of their names and phone numbers on my wall. Then the weeks of all of my term and if I had contact with them I put a check mark there and then I could check the list and had not heard from them that week I could call them up, so we would stay in at least weekly contact. It grew to about 12 or 15 people and they would be like the local lit chair for LA and the local lit chair for San Francisco, local lit chair for Philadelphia and so on. Then by staying in touch with them, oh and another thing we did was put out a monthly letter about the World Lit Committee and how it was doing and what was happening and you know like when we were having trouble getting the minutes I would say like well Cliff had not sent them, but he was going to. Then I would put in there, well he sent them but we cannot make them out and they ain’t typed yet. Then that is the phone calls when we used to decide to make it a handbook instead of minutes because we had our own internal communications like that. Then I would call them, read the World Lit Letter to them, and say if you catch anything that should be in here you let me know and I will read slowly and you just stop me when you want to. Then I would read along and they would stop me and say well you did not mention so and so, so I would write down exactly what they said, the way said it and it would be in there in the next World Lit letter in their own words. When they would saw their own words in the lit letter, then they trusted me, because before it was like that stand off like you know sure I am going to give you the money and you are going to bring me back the dope, right Huh Huh Huh, and they would be real nice, but it was very superficial. What came across from my side was when I put their words into the letter they trusted me. You know it is these silly tests we run on each other, to see if we are for real, right.

 

You all want to take a break, I mean I have been talking for some time, well I just don’t want, I mean I see people having to go to the bathroom or else they are disgusted or something so I mean I don’t want anyone sitting here in agony like wondering when. You want to take like a 5‑minute break or something. (Laughter).

 

It is inevitable that you know I have passed over some things and I am going to pass over some things, but I have already been told by a least one person that things are coming out that they have never heard before. So I am going to keep doing it this way if it is okay and maybe we can get to some questions and answers too. So we were at Lincoln, Nebraska. The year was lets 1980 yeah cause my first conference was 79 and that’s when World Convention was in Atlanta so this was a year later so it had to be in 80 okay and it is in the file because it is after World Convention so that means it was in September. It is pretty high energy, because some of the people who were at Wichita are back for Lincoln. By now, there are some local lit committees who are now using the new approved Handbook for NA Lit Committees. The dream of the Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous has taken on like a new real dimension you know where it was two dimensions before it is now it is growing into three dimensions. Plus they have had half a week at World Convention to like really get hot to do it. So we are up there in Lincoln and a couple of notable things happened ones not in the story of the Basic Text yet, because I may be a horror in ways but I am not a horror when it comes to the fellowship and do not like to put things in just for like their emotional appeal or something. Everybody tells me that we should put it in; that everybody tells me that we should put it in that the members in Lincoln, Nebraska gave blood to raise money to host their lit conference and that probably should be in there.

 

Another thing that touched me particularly was this one guy who looks kind of, like an out of work truck driver was really a cowboy from the north plat and had gotten strung out in World War 2 you know like in Europe. So he could not read or write so this girl sat down with him and took down his story. I thought it was really neat that we had such a group of people together to where we could include people like that. Then I remember also sitting because we would, if all you think that World Lit Committee was a committee then you are missing it. Because like a lot of things in the fellowship it was like tongue and cheek like how many people have a secretary in their home group that can take shorthand and how often does the chair necessarily chair a meeting the way a corporate board of directors chair, would chair their meeting. But we have to call it something so secretary stuck and chair stuck and so on you know and let the secretary take care of the fifty dollar cash flow. So we had this committee but in years since this time, I realized it was not really a committee. It was a spiritual service body collection of members absolutely dedicated to a goal of the Basic Text for their fellowship. These people had years to work at it, we had sometime to make our mistakes on a small scale. Like one time we mailed out a World Lit mailing with Narcotics Anonymous on the outside of the envelope and we didn’t do it to be mean we were that dumb and also it had been donated printing and it was in a hurry to get the mailing out. Get it, and I mean every time we screw something up man we should get a subsidy or something from the phone company, because you can just imagine all the red lights going off (Laughter) yes we know about that, yes that is right, no it will not happen again. We did not have any approved guidelines and that is an example, but we knuckled under instantly, were true to our word, and never did it again. I guess that is the way you have to do it in service. I am just trying stress on you that the people who showed up in Lincoln were not like newcomers to World Lit anymore. Some had attended the World Service Conference in 79, the World Lit Conference in Wichita in 79 and they had been working in local lit committees for months, 6 months or a year maybe. They had written material and had written their story perhaps by this point. So by the time they got to Lincoln they was not going there on this big what if deal you know. Plus the committee by now had like 800 pages of input and like my good old buddy, Doug said in his letter, some of it was rather rough but we treasured all of it. It was certainly evidence that addicts in recovery could write and of course, that was the lie that was going down that we could not. It is funny like I have heard it said that America is unique out of all nations because you can go out on a street corner in America and take a dozen unemployed fools sitting around and say come on lets build a bridge, I will pay you. They will say oh ok, it does not matter what city, what corner what twelve guys, or gals even as long as you have the building materials and the money to pay them, they will build a bridge. One of them will know something about blueprints, one of them has laid brick before, and one of them knows how to work iron. Between them, because they are American they will figure out a damn way to build a bridge. Now it may not be the best bridge but you know it is just an attitude, I do not know why, the cultural diet, the TV, the magazines, the readings our conversations, our attitudes, our friends, our travels, the jobs that we work. So anyway, all these people that were attracted from our younger growing NA fellowship to literature and some of them had a while to think about it and kind of gear up and learn to type or whatever. They showed up and again the question was well now we are here what do we going to do. So we went around the table we heard from everybody. See that was not just to hear from everybody that is important enough by itself, but that was something we did so that everybody there knew that they were welcome and appreciated and to deal them in made like a circle of us. In other words, it was not just a few important ones over here that has to talk and you guys keep your fucking mouth shut. It is like everybody was important and everybody had an equal say and an equal chance to say it. It did not matter if you had forty years clean time or four days. We literally had people in our lit conferences with one day clean. I remember this one little sixteen‑year‑old down in Memphis. She had to sit on like five or six phone books to get her ass up high enough to reach the typewriter keys. She could type like a madwoman and it was good typing to, but she was just small. So anyway, we Greg was there, Bob Barrett was there oh give you one other little idea about why this was not a quote, unquote real committee, that it was really a spiritual service body. This guy was sitting next to me, and you know I am there starting to get a little excited and she is like you could just tell that she was not real comfortable you know it didn’t look like she needed to go to the bathroom so I said, have you ever said the lit prayer? She says what is that. I said well you know that is where you pray for God to remove your ego and give you the strength and guidance to do his footwork and all like that, have you. No are you suppose to, Ohhh to sit in this room you better because you be in here with your ego you might blow up, and she said my goodness what is happening to me. I said go out into the hall and take a few minutes, get with your God say that prayer and come back. Five minutes later here she is, you know World Lit Worker, throwing her hands up and attitude and doing all the stuff, you know just come alive. I guess everybody there did something like that you know to where their ego was no longer a question and they were comfortable with their qualifications for NA membership. Meaning you know they had made a mess of their lives and everything they had touched had gone wrong more or less and they had surrendered and had that spirit that unity.

 

I said in the break to somebody outside well we were so luck. We had the Basic Text for a project to write on, everybody supported it, and everybody was interested in seeing it for various reasons. It was just total absolute unity, the service branches, World Service Conference was for it, so was the World Service Board of Trustees so was WSO. Everybody helped us, everybody liked us, everybody loved us and that is how it went in the early days.

 

One idea had been proposed, Greg had mentioned it to me and he pitched the group with it and that was to make a topic outline based on the White Booklet because everybody knew that and most of the points were covered even if they were not elaborated on sufficiently. Then from that topic outline, we would plug in the input and then see if we could figure out a way to get it from raw input into something to where all of the material would be in say this chapter in a certain basic order. Then we would worry about getting it to read more smoothly and so on and covering the other points that came up. So that is what we started doing. Greg pulled out the chalk and the blackboard and just went to work. He had been working for a corporation making polyurethane, to keep his workers alive and awake they sent him to a lot of like corporate schools for this and that, and so he was use to doing it. He had a real good style of delivery and just like ok folks we going to do it now. You know okay here is the first chapter and hell you know nothing but believers in the room, chugga, chugga, chugga chug we wrote the topic outline, then the second chapter, then the third chapter. You know” Who’s an Addict”,” What is NA”, what should be in there. So then this is the crux, we are fixing to cross over from the period of time during which we had no book until the baby when you could see its little head sticking out. Okay it was not to pretty but it was at least a baby and it was there you know like a lot of babies it had some promise and people would love it and bring it up.

 

So we took the pieces of paper and where an item of input seemed to belong in different places within this topic outline we had it typed and photocopies made so everybody had a copy of it. Then we would say well the item in the stack of photocopies I got, this belongs in Chapter One b‑3 and write that on this little piece of paper and throw it in the basket then those are all sorted to where all the Chapter Ones are in one pile all the Chapter Twos are in another pile. This still seems incredible even to me and I am a believer and a witness that we were able to do it that way, took a break, went to lunch, came back. Then we took all the pile of paper for Chapter 1 according to this topic outline, because the important point to us, you know and do not miss this very very important point a lot of people unfortunately missed this very important point. Is every scrap of paper in that pile was potentially the key to somebody’s life in recovery? So we took every scrap very seriously, nothing was wasted. So anyway, physically, socially, emotionally, and mentally, how do you get all this transposed? Well everybody would take a little stack and we would go to the first item on the topic outline, everybody would just keep looking through their stack and we would keep going until everything was used right okay. So it did not matter where we started or where we finished because everything was going to be used somewhere. However, getting it started was just like getting to the top of this great big hill and then you ain’t quite got enough energy just to flop over the top. It is like I was there you know and I would pray and all that and I was real jacked up you know and hoping we would get a book. I said come on who has got that first one, come on, you know plug it in man you looking at it, does it speak to you, let me hear you. Everybody was like is this it, no that’s not it, no then somebody else would say I got one, read it out, and they’d read it out and hell the first one was pain is our common denominator, and everybody says YEAH (Laughter) and we was on to the next item you know. We would like paste that on the top of a blank sheet of paper, and the next one, and the next one, and the next one went through that chapter and all the other chapters. I mean this took a lot of faith, and days later, you know we had. Oh, man that was another thing, (time warp) spiritual service body. Usually a day has 24 hours in it sometimes you watch science fiction movies and Star Trek heroes want to get from one galaxy to another so they like go into what’s called warp factors. Well man, we like, kind of started out kind of like we are doing here, but what if the next thing we were going to do is okay later tonight we are going to start working and we got the files. This day and age, we got the computers, the spell checkers and I mean after two or three days everybody knows what the goal is and everybody knows what the resources are and everybody has total information access, everybody knows what is going on. Any question is answered that fast by anybody else so none of that likes held to control you or hold you back. So everybody knows everything. You know the term a mile a minute, I mean some of our hours were like days we would get so much done. I mean it would leave you with like this awed sort of blasted feeling. Like you know every now and then it would kind of creep up on you, like give you the willies is this really happening, is this okay? God was using the group as an instrument, to answer all the prayers and we have to be there and it was just great to see God doing all this neat stuff and we were just sort of bewildered but you know we were just happy to do our part and stay in place. So then, we had the humorous job of taking this cut and pasted material without computers. We literally down to this office supply store and said we need some paste, no I think we will need a little more than that.(Laughter) We need some scissors and they would bring out these seven or eight dollar like shears you know. Do you have any thing a little cheaper and we get this little toy, children’s steel, you know like ends blunted so you cannot stab your fellow students or even yourself. We cut and pasted all right. So anyway between input one and input two ,pain is our common denominator and the next sentence whatever it is okay we are going to keep the content meaning and all the wording possible but can we get thee two or three sentences to line up and kind of flow from one to the other. By now we have twenty or thirty people all honed in on this one topic brainstorming and they would suggest a couple of versions with increasing ability they would hit on a combination that would include all the thoughts words and ideas in those sentences or two but they would read better. Then this was all written in, the bridge sentences were sometimes written in, in pencil. All this rough cut and paste with marks went to typing and we gave the typist the liberty you know, help it make since Mary and she would and if you are uncomfortable about something either delete it out or ask somebody and that was a good way because everything was included. We would get like a rough typing of Chapter 1 and then a rough typing of Chapter 2 and chapter 3 and so on. Not all the chapters were done that way but enough of them did like chapter one did and maybe two, I don’t know. Okay and it just it was like the time warp slowed down on Sunday and everybody sat at the table and we said look we were much more done than we thought we would. Look the Basic Text is becoming a reality here it is on the table in front of you. You all are going to take copies of it home. We had the copies and the typewriters this time and they took their minute’s home with them, I think or else we got them out pretty quick. That conference or the next conference we stopped the business about we will send you the copies to you shortly. Our style of conference we would take the minutes as it was happening and as a page of minutes was taken it would go away to typing. Therefore, when you got back from lunch you would get your morning minutes in your hands. Then we had these cute people who would say no that is impossible you couldn’t possibly do that at one of these, and we just did it. I think I tried to be nice to him and said well we know it’s hard and probably won’t be able to do it all through the conference but we are going to do it just for today you know we will do it just for this little part of it okay. That seemed to satisfy him but hell we was like ready to eat iron we did it every damn time and there was never any yelling or any pressure or any extra effort. I mean everybody knew and nobody would even think of being mean to somebody else. You know there was just that kind of spirit. So anyway, we knew we were not done. We had gotten a lot done but we weren’t all done and we had discovered some of the potentials. Just you know we are going to have to have another conference. Oh, my God, we are going to wait until May and then they are going to schedule one in September that is a year from now. A year is there anything good that we can be doing in the next year while we are waiting to finish what we are doing right now and in the middle of and feel like going on with. None of us could think of anything. So we did the old damn faith bit and planned another conference, another world Lit Conference before the World Service Conference. I hope they understand some of them didn’t. So we went on, hugged and all that, took some pictures went on home.

 

The next conference site was Memphis, Tennessee and we still never did get the IPS we were suppose to mail out. But the policy item we were suppose to mail out our review pieces was in place, the committee was including raising all the money to mail them out. You have to understand how small these conference committees were in those days, none of them had any money. I would spend two or three hundred dollars out of my pocket and then wait a few months or six months to get it back. When I was in LA next and could physically show them my receipts. Therefore, mailing out much of anything was quite a problem. I am not saying that there were people in LA that were like holding the money strings. There was like no conference committee got any money because it just had not been done yet. It was just like all the damn bumps and grinds of getting something started, and there was no procedure for the Treasurer to reimburse chairs of WSC sub‑committees even though they were supposes to do it. It was not clear when and how. So it kind of hamstrung us financially. So we planned Memphis, everybody got their minutes from Lincoln; they got the edits from Lincoln and any other photocopies they wanted. I don’t think we charged them for photocopies in those days. We figured if they paid them, money to travel and get here whether it was across the country or across town and they paid their $12‑$15 registration fees then part of the deal ought to be is they can make some copies on their photocopier, at their conference, since it was theirs. We felt like it would be irresponsible to deny members the right to use their stuff. Also they would have felt this wall go up between us and them and we didn’t want any us and them so one way of keeping that down was to give things freely. Of course, we received freely too you know good thing we did. Therefore, we planned this lit conference, we know how many days we had at Lincoln, and we know it started Tuesday to go to Sunday. But it didn’t start accelerating and go into like this acceleration thing until about Wednesday. Then we did two or three weeks work in two or three days. Even at that accelerated pace it might take more than three or four days. By the time, we got all finished with planning and talking and considering it turned into a nine‑day literature conference, 24 hours a day. The site turned out to be Memphis State University. A hundred people showed up, 25 or so showed up for Lincoln, maybe it was 80 or 90 just under a hundred. They worked usually 18 or 20 hours a day. Now somebody do your math real quick, how many thousand did we put in that week? We didn’t get there until Monday

 

               

Tape Five

Allentown History Literature Addathon 1990

Speaker; Bo S

 

I will be done with the sort of technical section in a minute, the techniques that we applied to create and employ the lit process of Narcotics Anonymous, which generated the Basic Text, and it has been a severe pain in my heart. To have to work for people at world level that do not know what you have heard me say this afternoon, and not knowing that they could apply their very own techniques. So anyway we continued this sort of, you have to have like a little discussion with the folks that are doing this kind of work. and say like, it’s going to seem a little bit hokey but its going to be like one of those guys who sells things or something and calls and says, come on whose got the next line. You got to jazz it up, you kind of got to sit up straight and you know this line is so in so’s. So we completed all ten chapters, and then we had all the roughs typed and then we got into editing.

 

One little committee of the World Lit Committee dealt with stories, that’s why people like me didn’t know whose name went with what story title, because for a certain period of time I think in 85 or so 86 WSO was mad at me because they thought I knew who wrote the stories that they were looking for. They were looking for the people that wrote these stories so that they could get a signed approval form and then include the stories in the Basic Text. Well I could not tell them, because to function as chair of this spiritual service body I had to not know whose name went with what title, because if there were even a hint that Bo was playing favorites the whole thing would have caved in. It was all a house built of faith. So outside of getting the pleasure and honor of going to the mailbox, pulling it out and opening it and reading it for the first time then it went in the file and went to committee. They assigned the titles to them, I never knew. Maybe one or two cases like, I know my sponsors story pretty good,” Found the only NA meeting in the world”. But that was just like happenstance. But anyway, that was not considered like as important as the Basic Text itself. So that was begun in Memphis, but mainly then we had these roughs, okay now what are you going to do with the roughs? You are going to rewrite it, who is going to rewrite it, who wants to? We come together every six hours for a group conscience session and then all the workshops for chapters one, two, three, four, five tell all the other workshops how they are doing ask questions, share solutions they found and then you break up and go back into workshop. Then come together 4, 5 6 hours later, then break up and go into workshop, then come together. It went on all week and I swear to God boy about Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday morning we were flying again. I mean it came up that some members in Philadelphia had some input and some of the members in Memphis said we should have Federal Express send out that, it is only so and so dollars to send it out overnight. The group got so quiet and I will never forget it. It was like 8 or 9 men and women standing around me and everybody had their head down, and I was chair and I am trying to serve them, be their trusted servant, and I’m like I don’t know what they are thinking, what do they got their head down for. So I ask one of them, I said what do you think folks, and they said, well 24 hours is a long time, couldn’t we just take it out to the airport and put it on a plane like a real person, I said yes I think that could be arranged and that’s what we did. So they run the material out, put it on the jet, and we run out to the airport in Memphis and picked it up and it was there in 4 or 5 hours, we did not have to wait 24 hours. And you know then the committee receiving it you know they just absorbing into the work. But we were running into certain troubles, because like reading even if there are 50 experienced lit workers present with hand held copies of the material being read in hand items come up that are hard to address. Because you get nitpicky, I mean should this be a gerund or a split infinitive, is it okay to use a split infinitive we used one a several pages ago? You just get in like this cerebral trance and it is like it is real hard to get folks you know working together and agreeing on things. So we made up another experimental way called the Memphis, what did we call that, Memphis flow reading, how does that grab you? That is where you get 50 or 100 members with hand held copies and readers take turns because the name of the game is to read it so damn fast that it short circuits your conscious mind. (Making blubble noises for description) I mean really I am not even going to do that; it is like burlesque right and it short circuits your conscious mind. And everybody in the room has to agree that it is okay and they give their full permission to have their conscious mind short‑circuited as they sit in the chair and participate in this Memphis flow reading. We are just going to try it folks, if it does not work we will stop doing it, okay we will try. So I just read it, now you can read a whole chapter, see the trouble with these chapters is being what 10, 15 pages, 20 pages long is it may take you three or four hours for a little editing workshop to plow through a single chapter, or even four or five pages if they get bogged down. Where as with this flow reading you can jam through an entire chapter in about 5 or 10 minutes. But you are probably asking your self what if any good is it? (Laughter) Okay hope you are still with me, you mark because your eyes are having to move like this (Laughter) to follow the reader. If you spot something it makes you feel weird funny there might be an error here, you don’t pencil in a little recommended thing you know in tiny little fine letters, you just make a mark on that part of the page. Okay now we have finished the flow reading okay, go get your coffee and we will be back in five minutes. Now we are back in five minutes, now we discuss marks, anybody got anything on page one, yes what is it, speak up they cannot hear you. Then we decide to do about their mark in paragraph two. Somebody else caught it over here, same damn thing. They spot a redundancy that was mentioned on page one and they caught it on page fifteen, because it happened within fifteen minutes so it felt funny to hear that again. That is a redundancy I think, so they marked it, checked it, later they had time to check later and they spotted the redundancy and edited it out. Okay other things, you cannot read material that has written a certain way this rapidly, the reader will trip up. That is one reason you can read the Basic Text that way, you probably never tried it or thought about it. You probably never tried it or thought about it, you may not have otherwise; we thought of this and talked about it openly. Like when you are laying there reading like in a chair or something like that, nobody is watching you, nobody is going to criticize, nobody give a fuck if you cheat and skip a page, they don’t care. You are just reading it, and if you speed read or read a lot, you are just reading whole sentences like they were words after a while, just turn the page. Anybody knows what I am talking about, it is like another state of mind, that is real common but you do not do it in public so nobody talks about it. Well we figured it out, that people would probably be reading this book a lot and it might be good that it is written like that. Also, that it might be read in a lot of meetings and therefore it should read well and smoothly. So by just reading the fire out of it I mean if there was like some kind of phrase or poorly placed word or long and difficult word that didn’t read well or that most people were not familiar with, you got to edge it out, you know how it got detected I mean those Memphis flow readings. The other funny thing, (look at me looking) I have never gotten into, I have never gone this deep on this subject before with anybody, I do not think. But anyway, you all set the stage for it that made the difference. So we did not just one, Oh when we were doing the flow reading okay we can do editing and we could have fifteen tables in this room at four chairs each and you could not hear noticeably what is was being discussed at the next table, does everybody know what I am talking about? The next table aint hearing you, now if you yell or make something out of the way then people like look up but they got to do it right normally their brains are set to ignore what is happening at the next table. Where during a flow reading guess what, we are in here you know a series of people are taking turns reading until they run out of breath, somebody could walk by at the other end of this great hall and say (yelling) “ hey is there any more coffee in there”. And all 60 people in the hall would go like huh, (laughter) (bangs fist on the podium) I mean just stop and look over like hostile man like did you really just stick your finger in my eyeball? I mean you could feel it I mean it is visceral. You know these poor people just wanted some coffee, they didn’t think that they were like really interrupting, intruding on our territory 75 feet away, but it was because we were in this other state of consciousness you see. That is another one that only, and some people could not stay in the room in a Memphis flow reading because the process and whatever it does to your brain they just were not ready for. (Laughter) They sit there for like two or three minutes, its like you see them breaking out into a sweat,(panting) I got to get out of here.(Laughter) we say yes go now , quickly please. You know but it was a real cool technique and it really it helped get the book. You know it is laughable in a way but it is like how else do you do you do that if you don’t have millions of dollars to pay people or even if you do have millions of dollars to pay people. Why not do that with members and let them spot the errors and things they would like to see in their literature. So anyway, we got done and we so we had Memphis chapter one first edit, Memphis chapter one second edit. We got all of them done in Memphis. A continuation no, no not much was done with stories, stories were mainly just generally read and this group of stories could be printed for review form as is. So that was stacked in the file system somewhere. Okay and about remember Sunday to Sunday, or Sat is the week and then the following Sunday and about Thursday we knew we were going to get done. It was not done yet but you know, God willing the Mississippi River do not rise we were going to be done. What is going to happen next we going to wait a couple of months and then see if the conference wants to send it out. What do you mean the conference wants us to send out our own review materials, right? Well yeah but how are we going to get that money? Why should that be a problem we got plenty of support? So we finished it, we put out the word through this huge network of literature committees, which by now reached every tiny creek and hollow of the entire worldwide fellowship from Calcutta to Sydney. The fellowship coughed up about, at least twenty thousand dollars with in a couple of weeks. Much more money than anybody in NA had ever seen at one place at one time. The typist tried to type to retype it and kept coming across things, maybe some unauthorized changes were made, but eventually got a typing service to retype all the materials and put numbers out beside the lines, punch it, and gvc, bind it. A quarter of a million sheets of paper were used to print them. Simultaneously over in Marietta where I live this fellow Roger with a lot of our support spent about five or six hundred dollars in less than 30 days to locate every NA Meeting on the face of the planet and we would sit around and egg him on, he would run out of ideas. So if there wasn’t a listed meeting in Dublin, we would call the hospital in Dublin and if they didn’t know nothing then we would call someplace else and if we ran out of ideas we go on to Germany and come back to Dublin. But in the end we got meetings nobody even dreamed that there were, NA Meetings and they would get phone calls these weird ass phone calls from these crazy Americans. (Laughter)

So we located every meeting on the face of the planet, raised the money, had the material printed and we had been chastised for not sending out our review material and also it was in our guidelines to collect, compile and review material prior to consideration at the annual WSC. They probably did not think on which we were going to collect or on the scale on which we were going to compile these several hundred thousand man‑hours gone by or the scale on which we would review. And since we had got the donations from the fellowship and we have enough Grey Forms printed and we had located every meeting in the world where they would get one. It was the conscience of the committee the spiritual service body to send a copy free to every meeting on the face of the planet, and that is what we done. And so you know in Atlanta we went out to the airport and here are these two or three boxes we was all like nervous as cats, couldn’t wait to get our hands and knives on them. You know we dived in pulled it out, you know the first ones, did the same thing in LA and Philly and all over the place. They just drove around all night knocking on people’s doors you know and finally the sleepy people would come to the door and say I think they live next door. (Laughter) So we would run next door you know and give them their Grey form, took them by hospitals, took them by wherever addicts were. The woman Olivia in Dublin went down to the post office and got hers and it just floored her you know, this great big bulky package from the United States of America what could possibly be in it. You know she started crying and ran around Dublin and Ireland all the rest of the day showing it to people. So I am going to cut off here so that we can have time, there was other conferences like after Memphis and Santa Monica, there was additional edit of chapters and the committee got even better at doing it. By now there were people that had been working with it two or three years. Get the time sequence too, Wichita to Lincoln was a year, Lincoln to Memphis was 4 or 5 months, or two or three months, yeah. Memphis to Santa Monica was couple three months, Santa Monica to Warren, Ohio was three months I think, Warren , Ohio to Miami, Florida three months and then back to Memphis bought another three months and then the Philadelphia Lit Conference and then that’s where the stories were all taken care of. The white form was sent out from Memphis the book was finished in Miami. That was the seven conferences though was Wichita, Lincoln, Memphis, Santa Monica, Warren, Miami and Philadelphia, and that completed it.

 

So help me God I don’t know how this miracle happened but I am real glad and I am ( ) for everybody on all the committees and all those years. That the idea being able to turn around what the disease was doing to us and just going to keep doing unopposed forever. It made us in to sort of like spiritual warriors or something. And you know people died like we tried to get NA started back in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s then you know they even die in some places today but it aint as bad. And people have died that helped write your Basic Text. Roger is gone, Gina is gone, Tom the Red is dead, but at least they left with something, of all the addicts that did at least, they left with something. I mean Jimmy got to see his dream come true, things divide us like the more strong we got like bureaucratically and dealing with this paperwork and dealing with this communication system. Like without realizing that we had more friends and more support more money more connections, longer mail lists better equipment, quicker response time. We were just so tuned in to the fellowship it was like we would go to LA and instead of being like the old slow pokes from the east coast, we would go to LA and those fast people from Los Angeles and San Francisco would be sitting there watching us zip around the room. I mean just like how do they do this, you know some of the rumors and gossips in those days, who is behind them, the Ford Foundation giving them money? (Laughter)

 

I mean me losing my wife and my kids and my business; I am still paying off bills that come from those years. People still laugh at me and tell me that I am a bad example of recovery because I do not have more personal cash, but I may being here you will ever know. I have seen more miracles when I saw that thing you know Blade Runner and the guy was dying at the end and said I have seen the moons from Io. I have seen better than that right here through my recovery in Narcotics Anonymous. So what is this sign, Anonymi , well you know if we had gone through all of this without cracking some jokes and hamming it up a little bit it could have torn us up you know. So Anonymi was like what the Latin plural of anonymous and so we was constantly making up jokes. And one of the jokes which Anonymi actually was not some kind of a joke, it was the idea was that because of the kind of service we were doing and kind of strains that were on us. And the wavelength I guess we were on and the fact that we were servicing the needs of a worldwide fellowship and been doing it long enough that it was like our ordinary. I was like what are you doing today writing a letter to the entire NA fellowship what else (Laughter), do not we all. Then average members would go like you are doing what, you know we would have people outraged and mad at us. Well what kind of damn ego trip are you on? You know like somebody has got to do it, what something wrong with me, now don’t answer that. You know some of the World Lit workers made up the joke or the notion or maybe they made up a chip that said Anonymi or at least one of those pins. They would have some little Anonymi meetings and share their feelings and what they are going through. Oh, I would talk about; I would run up to members in Atlanta after one of these conferences and say Oh the book is coming, of she is so great isn’t it wonderful and they would go like and look at me like , you piece of shit. And I would go like what kind of reaction is that thanks a lot guys, so much for the home team. Then I would go and sit down at a table and start rattling on about the book and Id get up and leave and go like what?

 

In Atlanta Georgia where I lived, I lived like twenty miles out, and they called it Bo’s damn book. (Laughter). Because from their perspective they did not know that we really were calling, writing, and seeing people all around the whole fellowship on a daily basis. So to them it seemed like Bo’s damn book, it took them awhile to figure out no hell that is the whole damn fellowship, it can happen here. Then they took a more gentle view. Change, impact, pressure, communication, spiritual restraint, check your facts don’t go with the rumor, take it with a grain of salt give the other guy the benefit of the doubt. If you don’t have a big bag of tools like that you aint going to make it. It is just like trying to do God’s work with an ego, it is just like we took this little tape recorder and for some reason decided we wanted to get more music to where it would play louder like outside in the yard. So somebody said lets just switch over to 220 that will work, well no it won’t it will just blow up the radio. And so for someone to do this kind of work with an ego, it is like you would blow up. It would be like a fuse, you try to put to much juice through to little a wire and it burns out to protect the equivalent maybe that is what are egos are fuses or something. But if you completely like brainwash out of yourself and just all of your thought system and action system the thought of ego and self and gain and what other people are going to think, we just had to completely forget about that stuff. Man, if we carried baggage like that with us, we would have never been able to walk the mile; it is hard enough doing what we did. A lot of times that got us in trouble, it made other people envious of us or they thought we were trying to take control or they thought we were upstaging them if you are familiar with movie terms. And we just like what are we going to break the conference just because upset in LA because we done the Basic Text, surely they are going to figure out that they are going to get the book next. You know they will accept it in time, you know funny rumors I mean I talked about the two fellowships and who here is not being NA transitional community that was going from AA/NA to just NA. People get start yelling politics and yelling other things. And I had people behind my back calling rumors to LA that were not even in Narcotics Anonymous. And LA believed what they heard on the telephone because what I was doing so upset these people that were not in NA that it was actually happening and that they would either tell them what a rotten guy I am or even embellish what a rotten guy I am. And in LA, they still believe what they were told ten years ago, what am I going to do go out there and shake them. I love them I am sorry it all happened. I wish to God I would have been able to find away to just stay in literature and not be WC administration and not be on the Board of Trustees for five years. Maybe I did some good but somebody would have to point it out to me. You know I got you know I have learned I have a lot of restraint and discipline but you know my love is always literature. The policy stuff I understand a lot of that stuff I was trustee liaison to finance anyway this is a history workshop, what do you do with old service workers. Well the people who wrote your Basic Text were very active. Typically, a Lit worker would show up in the beginning and say hey, there are four meetings in the state of Ohio and six months later, they would say well we got 20 meetings in Ohio now and a year later they say we got 50 meetings, it just wasn’t uncommon. You know and I was chairing world lit and chaired the World Convention which was sort of a disaster but then four or five years later the WSC put me on the Ad‑Hoc Committee to work on convention guidelines, so Bo got his revenge. This other upset chair from Milwaukee sent me notes and God came up with a plan and those guidelines were approved the convention guidelines for the whole fellowship. Me and Joseph, Joseph played a tremendous role in all this and he could not be here today, his car was broke or something like that. But you know things happen to us when people don’t cherish or appreciate what we have been trying to do. , our hopes and dreams and a lot of people like Joseph and Jim Miller, a couple of others get something kind of torn out of them, and it is hard to go on like nothing had happened and pretend. Maybe working on history will set some of that to rest, because we have to take care of our own people cause if we don’t care and take care of them nobody else will. You don’t set them up on pedestals, your right that would kill them. But you do not kick them when they are down either and you can give them cheery little phone calls and show them you give a damn. You know like his mom died not long ago and like everybody in Narcotics Anonymous around the east knew about it, but he just went into a not communicating spell. So anyway what are we going to do next, you want me to just step down and we do the tape or questions…. Applause

 

Jodi: Thank you, thank you very much.

Bo: You are most welcome. Thank you.

 

Jodi: I kind of have two questions; one is when I lived in Van Nuys I remember speaking to one of the members of the present literature committee and being denied access to one of their meetings. Even if I said, I wouldn’t say anything. And asking a lot of questions about all the controversy over the staff team approach and professional writers and in trying to, why do you feel the need to do this because some of our greatest writers have been addicts. And I get very upset at this concept that you put five addicts in a room and they can’t even agree how to get out.

 

Bo: You mean some of our greatest writers just in the general population in history

 

Jodi: through out society and history.

 

Bo: Like, Hemingway was sort of an addict and had short choppy sentences.

 

Jodi: Right, the thing that we have talked about and maybe you could clarify it is that their concept is that our literature process did not work. bah, blah blah and I think I have heard you say in other times that it does they are just not doing it, and that is coming up with all these new fangled ideas

 

Bo: I just don’t think they know what a spiritual process it is and how much a matter of the heart it is.

 

Jodi: That is the second part of the question this is not about words and paper and grammar, (Bo; It is not about things you can buy) that there is a lot of spirit that went into this book and I would like you to address some of that. You have talked on other occasions about the prayer that went into before each meeting and lets talk about this is more than English.

 

Bo: Well there was that thing that Greg wrote about you know divine precepts and all, God grant us the ability and whatever and that was read at later conferences and prayer was such a continuous part of what went on. It was like it was like eating a meal but you had been snacking all day so I mean like you have been praying all day so you make this special prayer now and then I mean yeah it is nice but I mean it took all them prayers. Prayer was the way we kept down the in fighting. You know that funny thing mentioned in the writing over there about when I got back from Lincoln and a lot of the files folders from the Lincoln Lit Conference were empty and it said chapter three and a little title for chapter three and had nothing absolutely in it. And deep down in my heart I knew that Joe had betrayed me and stolen that damn material, I could not figure out why. It just tore me out of the frame for about two or three days and you know I did not have any guiders or predecessors to tell me what to do I just could not figure out what to do. So finally I talked to Joe about it and he said Bo don’t you remember we didn’t get to those parts, I mean I just set up those folder but we never had any material to go in it. So we knew the love and the trust and we applied that, that way we learned those lessons. .Am I answering your question? (Sort of) Okay, cause you were asking about the prayers and the faith and all. I am just saying that while it was happening on one level like the physical plane it was also happening on the spiritual plane. (That is what I am trying to get at that it was not just English) And the two were just kind of jammed together somehow; sometimes it seems sort of float back and forth incredible things happen

 

Jodi: I mean obviously throughout your story you have talked about spiritual opposition the disease as well and maybe it is overtaken. (Bo; we knew the spiritual opposition would kill us if we let it). And maybe it has taken over our literature in a sense. Is it true that not only have you not been asked to help but also you have been blocked from our present literature process, you and the others that were apart of the original process.

 

Bo: Well yeah, I don’t know whether they are figuring that one fellow should only do so much or they figure they got it knocked. But you know I am an NA member I help when asked; I mean I went to San Francisco to find out who was working on the book how can we help. And a man asked me to help, I said can I help and he said sure help. So I am use to do what I am told, I haven’t been told to do nothing so I been like writing books and learning computers on the side and trying to pay my bills and such, take care of my two fine young sons. But, I guess maybe I have been blocked but who the hell knows Jodi? I mean it is like pulling teeth out, it is horrible.

 

Jodi: Well they say they cannot get it done but they have not consulted anyone to do it.

 

Bo: Well that does make you pause and wonder doesn’t it. (Laughter)

 

Grateful Dave: Grateful Gave addict. Hi Dave. Isn’t it great .I have a great deal of respect for the people who had enough courage and gumption to strike out in a different direction. No matter what the personal cost was to those individuals, there was a greater spiritual reward always reaped. Anybody that left NA over controversy did not really have a membership to begin with. The same is true today, controversy is vital, conflict is vital to growth personal and otherwise. Knowing you as well as I do I am sure you spent the past four hours telling us about the spiritual process and probably a number of asides scratched your head and said I just don’t know what happened then, and that’s to be expected. I have some questions, maybe you have covered them maybe you haven’t because I have spent seemingly months and months and months

 

Bo: Let me ask one real quick on what you said going on this intuitive process do you mean don’t know what happened when it was happening or after it was over?

 

Grateful Dave: Probably a little bit of both

 

Bo: Well one thing that I think about after it was over is all those years and all the spiritual studies, I mean a lot of people do not believe that God is real so they are incapable of behaving that God alone is real. So when you are around those people you have to make certain allowances. And very few people are willing to die for something good. So that is how you push past the normal boundaries.

 

Grateful Dave: Correct, it is like stepping off a cliff and saying well gosh, I am not sure if I am right, and I am not sure if I am wrong. But as long as I am paralyzed by fear I am not going to move anywhere, and I am going to be still suffering the same pain and have that lack of growth. I know that you believe this and I know that I believe it and I know that we believe basically the same things. I know our approaches are different. I love conflict, I love the truth I am Scotch‑Irish. (Bo: If it is good for the addicts, I love it.) Well I hope that everything is guided by that basic spiritual premise. You know there are a number of things that have come to the attention of members of the fellowship, whether they are accurate or not are certainly a matter that is in question. Can you, maybe you went over this but were it true that the 4th and 9th Tradition language of the Basic Text was included in the approval form and also the review and input form? And we wont get into who, how, why, or what but capriciously it had disappeared between the approval copy and the printing of the special edition.

 

Bo: Well let me try to state it more clearly. The material was mostly written by Greg Pierce and edited by the lit committee to an extent in the Grey form this is 1980. And then sent to the Board of Trustees for the traditions check like all of the material sent to the Board of Trustees, they had it for a very long time. And while they were working on that, we worked on the rest of the Basic Text. We was all done it went out in the white form, that was out of Memphis after Miami. Then it was out for a good while, it got approved in 82 published in 83, so that means they probably had it more than a year, maybe a year and a half. Then what you are saying is after it got approved in 82, but nobody saw the printing until in 83 in May. Changes had been made in the document, and all these were lit workers compared the final approved form with what was actually in the printed version and they found a couple of discrepancies in the Traditions sections. What had happened was that the Board of Directors chair of the WSO, the Board of Trustees chair and the WSC chair had been advised that Jimmy Kinnon didn’t like the line saying , the service boards and committees should never have the power to rule, censor dictate or decide, delete was one of them too. All else is not NA in the 4th Tradition, there were other less substantial changes, those however are very very crucial. Spiritual service bodies for instance that thinks their committees and start censoring, ruling, dictating and deciding loose faith with the people and the whole thing falls apart. Where is your volunteers where is your spirit coming from why does anyone want to come and work their ass off for that?

 

Grateful Dave: Is there a lesson that we might learn from World Services about the deletion of that language and where we might have evolved to because we didn’t have that spiritual group conscience approved frame of reference to have to stand on foundationally in the truth.

 

Bo: Sometimes it is hard to appreciate a lesson when you are learning it. But it sure seemed to me at the time like the fellowship acted like a few members had some personal attachment to those lines and that the anonymous thing to do was to support WS move to delete those lines even though they were restored to the 2nd edition I think and then taken out again in the 3rd. But don’t you see considered as if it were a personal antagonism between individuals and I don’t think very many members voted on it stopped to consider whether they really thought areas and regions were Narcotics Anonymous in essential terms. Is the hotel the convention, yeah sure the convention takes place there but you could have the hotel and no convention, you could have the convention out in a big field. Everybody was there, it was not raining, and everybody felt good.

 

Grateful Dave: Well the whole premise of that tradition was based on NA as such being the groups and it said that our service boards and committees exist to serve the fellowship, but they are not apart of Narcotics Anonymous, that was the 9th. We seem to have gotten ourselves into spiritual cross‑purposes by placing an undo emphasis on untitled service. Wouldn’t one by looking at the traditions, just the wording of the traditions alone get the idea that there is a requirement for membership on a service board or committee? So it violates our 3rd Tradition to be and also the 12th Tradition that anonymity does not apply once we take a service title, we set apart from. So, I mean duh, you know but it seems to me

 

Bo: I think there is even a simpler way and maybe more useful way to analyze it that may not occur to you is that when I got clean in 74, 75,76,78 and 79 when the service name was changed the service structure was one service structure it was one way.

Side two…..

 

Bo: the old timers at the time was that all else was not NA, that line did not come from the new east coast, Midwest service workers, that was one of our axioms, that came from Jimmy Kinnon. That came from you know Chuck Skinner and whoever all else is not NA, that is what we were taught, that is what we learned that is what we wrote down, and plus Greg wrote that section so likely input that he derived from what they taught him. But see when it was changed authoritatively without checking with even the regions or even asking them with a decent phone call to let them know what was going on and printed, that is it, like it or lump it change the next conference. Then that was just like and insult to all the NA lovers who had just written their baby up from a dream to a reality. It was the insult that was tragic, but the biggest thing that you are saying Dave is that it was never considered on principle it was exclusively a personal, hot, political emotionally charged issue, as if it were like two eggs butting heads and the only question is who has the hardest head.

 

Grateful Dave: Well I have seen the letter that you speak of, there was an inner office memorandum, similar to the one I have over there that went about the hiring of the professional writer and it works. From the chairperson to the three branches of World Service

 

Bo: They all three put their names on it)

 

Grateful Dave: absolutely it was Sally and Raymar

 

Bo: I thought it was Chuck Skinner and Raymar and Bob Stone)

 

Grateful Dave: and Chuck Skinner was the office board chair, at the time.

 

Bo: I think it was Chuck Gates at that time; I have a picture of Bob Stones signature and seem like Chuck Skinner

 

Grateful Dave: Well Bob Stones signature is in the minutes of the 83 conference in explanation along with Phil Perez having said that oh there was an error between, there was a printers error, that was the official position at the time, that there was a printers error the inner office memorandum that went out to members of the WSC.

 

Bo: Well it was bad and everybody knows it happened and we need to work on a solution

 

Well the solution, the solution you know without knowing where we are today, see there are a couple of issues surrounding our message today, you know one is you know, one is the issue of the message and the integrity of the message and the preciousness of that spirit and the group conscience that burst that. And what is going on today in terms of you know every piece of literature that we have on out tables with five exceptions which were the pamphlets that were written prior to 76 have been written by the group conscience. All of our literature and everything that we have gotten is a result of a process that we are being told today does not work and has in effect been thrown in the trash.

 

Bo: You have to be skilled to work it. I mean get real people I have shared the best that I can remember from back then to date. But I don’t blame these professionals they have been to college for 5 or 10 years and been told this is how you write books. How they going to listen to a guy like me? I am just a schmuck.

 

Grateful Dave: I think that is a real good issue

 

Bo: Hey, they are paid to do it, I am broke.

 

Grateful Dave: I hear you. (Laughter). Fawn talked about a Scotch‑Irishman that threw in his social security you know to do something worthwhile for Narcotics Anonymous. I happen to be Scotch‑Irish and I have thrown in my social security check in to a book here okay, I threw my social security check in the pot and I don’t pull any punches I aint no fuckin diplomat but I will tell you what . The approval copy of the Basic Text is the only book that was in total approved book by the fellowship and there were no stories in that. The stories were an after thought; they were never approved by the group.

 

Bo: No wait, they were, Philadelphia the white form was Miami sent out at Memphis and in three more months Philadelphia and then that form went out later because that wasn’t ready in time for the first form.

 

Grateful Dave: Several groups in several areas in fact did vote on the approval of the stories because we have available across the street here the original book of 50 stories. Well we did not get them out in time or we don’t know what to do with them, and why don’t you guys check them out. But the date on that and the votes in looking through the minutes the stories were never approved, they showed up in the Red Book. It was a Literature Committee decision. Not bad or right or wrong but I need to make that point that they were never approved by the total group conscience. The changes in the 3rd Edition revised were done on the floor of the conference as an after thought to the changes that were approved in the white book by the trustee’s recommendations of those changes, which was the only unanimous vote in the history of the World Service Conference. 72 to nothing the changes were approved on the floor of the World Service Conference to change the white book and as a motion after thought they said well lets make those changes in the white book consistent with the Basic text, so that is how we got the 3rd Edition Revised.

 

But in fact, in truth the only book that was ever approved by the groups was the approval copy of the Basic Text. That was published under C.A.R.E.N.A. and the signator for C.A.R.E.N.A. was James P. Kinnon, at the time, because I know its right there, I got that.

                                                                                                                               

Bo: I think what you are saying is very important and these people are all ready supporting or probably would not be here. The dream that we had when the Basic Text was done was like the feeling was like whew, man great we finally are done and good for something. Now we can have conferences that are a little more comfortable and a little more convenient with a little more time in between it and can go a little bit slower and do a lot better. When we can go back through the Grey Form for all the good stuff that might have gotten passed over, we just never had a chance man, the money, the money people and the professionals and all that showed up. It is not like they took us away from it, because it was God’s to us, it is like they reached for it and thought they took it and they have been trying to run with it ever since. But it is still in the same place it always was, they just do not know where to look for it, in the heart. Because I could correct literature today

 

Grateful Dave: Some of the assertions that are made in this open letter from the Trustees concerning the unauthorized printing of this unauthorized Basic Text and all this other happy horseshit. Would you say, you have seen this of course

Bo: Nope did not get a copy, but I have heard about that

 

Grateful Dave: Oh well then perhaps I would ask you to comment on the ethnicity of the statements that are made here.

 

Bo: Well I mean No just a second Dave, just starting with the basic idea that world sends out harsh letters directly to groups who may or may not know what is going on all by itself that is sowing seeds of controversy I mean that violates the tenth right there. I think you know direct responsibility we should have been more direct and if they had trouble with you or somebody else printing that book then they should have been more direct and more upfront and not tried to get people on the sides drawn in cause that’s how newcomers get hurt.

 

Grateful Dave: So would you safely in you heart and soul and based upon the copious amounts of documentation that you have in your personal possession and we know that others have this same documentation say that the Basic Text belongs to the World Service Office, or that the Basic Text belongs to everyone sitting in this room?

 

Bo: We wrote it for the fellowship, not for any office that’s why when the old office fell apart it was sad but you know I mean for the fellowship it is important not the office.

 

Grateful Dave: Do you think that we will have any resolutions of the current problems in the structure

 

Bo: In other words in finishing that it should be held in trust like as agent for Narcotics Anonymous by the WSO and if the copyright forms do not read like that then the fellowship owes it to itself to change it

 

Grateful Dave: The trust relationship is, was vested in the WSO and is stated here in the minutes of the World Service Conference, was vested in the WSO to protect the copyright from unauthorized use from outside organizations such as an outside organization. Inside the fellowship, we were under the impression I assume at the time because we printed our own literature, we made our own literature, we duplicated our own literature, and we passed all that literature around. I got clean as a matter of fact there was a five page letter asking us to not to duplicate our literature that was sent out just before I got clean. And it surfaced in my area when I was a member in my area I made a motion at the area to stop buying key tags from Atlanta lit and to stop printing our own literature because if we were going to support NA, WSC, and WSO then we should go all the way with doing that. Well times have changed and things are different and today we have a moral situation that will require the same kind of the spark fire enthusiasm and commitment that produced our Basic Text to rectify it. Would not you say that that would be a safe thing to say?

 

Bo: I do not know how God is going to straighten this one out.

 

Grateful Dave: Do you think that God uses people?

 

Bo: Yeah

 

Grateful Dave: And if God aint using people to help straighten this out then maybe their not ( ) using God in their life. That a safe extrapolation.

 

Discussion in the audience….5 more minutes and we will have dinner. Thank you Dave.

 

Lawrence: I am an addict man and my name is Lawrence. My question is, I basically have three questions and I will try to keep them simple for you. My first question is when did we loose our common denominator in the Basic Text cause its not there no more.

 

Bo: Well I have heard that and I have heard people talk about it in this workshop.

But you know like my Basic Text with the special cover on it is not its not a 4th Edition and I still got Grey Forms, I mean changes like that I am counting on the fellowship to wake up and form itself accurately and address some of these things. I is just a big on and it takes time and I think five years ago a lot people couldn’t envision it possible what’s happened since then. I think a lot of people, a lot of calm deliberate recovery types are on the case today so I see some remedy. Since I do not read the fourth and fifth edition then if I hear from somebody heard from a newcomer that just lacks some of the zip and zing I am not surprised, but other than that, I do not know what to think. I mean maybe it is so in just that one case and maybe it would be true 90 out of 100 people that read it. But really whom cares lets get back to sensibility, lets get back to an approved structure, lets get rid of the temporary working guide mentality. All that really means is that we follow the temporary working guide absolutely verbatim as written unless some powerful person wants to do it another way and then they do just as they damn well please. And the service world I existed in prior to 79, 80, and 81 was very stable and very cut and dry and we just did not have that kind of bullshit. I just wasn’t allowed it would have been fantastic, of course we didn’t have the World Service Conference either it was just coming into existence, but at the area regional level those guides worked good. Now we have had our period of explosive growth now let us put a lid on it, get back to the business serving the addicts sick in recovery, and forget all this squabbling. Because if you really could mathematically figure it our you would find that everybody was a little right and everybody was a little wrong the was a whole lot of in between.

 

Lawrence: My other two questions and I hope you could respond to them. My second question was the first copy of the Basic Text was sold for $35 dollars and I believe there was a purpose for selling those texts for $35 dollars> Was it because we needed to print more and sell them at that price in order to bring them down to the price we originally intended to keep them. The price affordable to you know again a common denominator addict that is coming into the rooms. My final question is, when did the service office stop serving the fellowship, when did it actually start?

 

Bo: Well first when the Basic Text was done and approved the plan was maybe several plans, there may have been several plans but the dominant plan that got approved was to have x number of Basic Texts printed with the Red Cover and sell for twenty‑five dollars and maybe it was 2500 of them. Then like another 5000 of them printed to be sold for eight dollars a piece. Then do your math on it the income of that would pay for the whole first printing. So that was a way that we could finance with in the fellowship without having to borrow from a bank or outside source enough money to do the first printing, within traditions, with no outside support with in the fellowship. So people would hear that and send in fifty or a hundred bucks or two or three, it was twenty‑ five though. Then the balance was eight dollars each. I do not think that the WSO has ever stopped serving the needs of the fellowship entirely. I think there are many many very good very loyal dedicated hard working terrific individuals out there, and most of our problems and

whether I am rationalizing because it is more personally comfortable or whether it is really true, most of our problems are like growing pains. I mean if you took a damn hamburger company or a donut company and it grew from having one location to having five thousand locations in a year and a half you would have what is called management problems. If you take a little baby fellowship like ours and just spring it up to life size in ten years, you have what is called management problems. And of course our disease takes you know those expectable problems and like Oh God has let me down. Guess I have to go use some dope.(Laughter) I mean isn’t that smart, I mean nobody can mess with your clean time but you, I mean you don’t have a handle on everything, but least you got a handle on that. So anyway I just look at I never ignore entirely the 90 percent or more that are doing well at WSO and they are answering the phone calls, and staying at place out of love and they want things to get better and are glad there have been some recent changes. A lot of them may have just sort of given up hope but they did not quit they kept trying. I am thinking of two or three specifics right now, just fine people working at WSO. And I stretch my neck out and let them put a sharp blade to it and I would never think they would cut me. Of course there are others who I would never extend that opportunity.

 

Lawrence: You were mentioning how we could stop the squabbling, and start to get back to the business at hand. Can you give us some concrete suggestions some ideas maybe some direction so I could take back to my home group.

 

Bo: Yeah but this is like sort of hopefully an educated guess, it is easier to start new big , desirable, clear goals that excite and energize the fellowship today than to deal with the matters of the past. That is why it is so hard to do the history, And what it is like there is this big fear if you go too far with the history work you get into personal issues, and sooner or later, you pick up a clean time casualty or two. I mean like right in the middle of the history work xw something or other shoots himself right there on y in dot Van Nuys and we are all suppose to feel like hell. Well I am sorry people have been dying ever since I have been a grown person, a lot of them die young and horrible, and if anybody is stupid enough to have such a rotten spiritual condition, I just feel sorry for them. You know my little brother died when I was at the WSC and I stayed out there because I had other brothers and sisters who were not dead yet, and when the time came to put his ashes in the river I was lucky to be there. But people die everyday and I do not think people are going to die over history work that is pretty lame. But you know what I am saying is there are like these real curious fears try to get somebody who opposes history work to finger on what the obstacle is. You know well not right now, it will cost to much money or well form an Ad Hoc committee. I mean they have been putting it off for years, they being whoever is at the World service Conference because I have introduced motions about this every year and I couldn’t say of it was the office that opposed it or the conference or the Board of Trustees. There may have been some support and some opposition from all three on a given year. But for some reason everybody acts like it is not cool for NA to have its own history. It is like we are suppose to be not real still. Like we are not real in the days before we had our book, and we loose that not quite real status if we have a history book. I mean what is everybody afraid of I mean you know I screwed some things up and mailed out some world lit mailing with a Narcotics Anonymous in the envelope isn’t that awful, I mean really it was pretty bad we took it serious as hell at the time. But so what, it has been done along time if there was any harm done surely it is over by now. And other people did wrong things and things they would love to undo or take back. So what are you going to focus on that or the good stuff? I mean I see a young fellowship hungry for answers and I don’t think the fellowship cares anything about who screwed up or who was successful or who do we got to( )talk to, you know your cool bro, you a drag jack. I mean when I am having trouble in my area I need to how I can adapt to a pattern that has worked for somebody else, how do I solve my problems at a group level? What were the dreams and values and intents of people who have played a historical role in NA? That is what newcomers ask me today that is what I think people want. They really don’t think they want dirty laundry and I think, some people think that is all there is dirty laundry. You know there is a lot more than that.

 

Jodi: Hi, I am an addict named Jodi. Hi Jodi. It is kind of like the reason we do not have history you know the concept of spiritual anonymity and that our founders are suppose to remain anonymous and all that other bullshit, it is just rationalization. It is as if they expect it to be like adopted children who are not allowed to know their parents and expect us to grow up functional. You know it an unreal expectation especially the spiritual entity. You also brought up earlier you know that our steps talk about the addict who still suffers, addicts can be people with twenty years clean who still got through this, and sometimes it is overlooked. I appreciate you bringing that up. You said on different occasions that a lot of these problems started when we stopped writing our own original literature and maybe the squabbling would stop if we started working on something new and you discussed maybe working on the history and also a book on the spiritual experience. There are a lot of things unspoken especially from the older and even the newer members about these spiritual experiences, they are carrying them around thinking they are crazy, and we have talked about getting that together. What do you think about if we just stopped, it is like instead of focusing the disease, focusing on recovery what do you think if we started writing new literature, what do you think would happen?

 

Bo: Well, you know I have shared mainly as World Lit Chair and I want to step out of that role for a moment because I have also served as WC vice chair and on two Ad Hoc’s, Board of Trustees and liaison to various WC subcommittees and worked three weeks night and day on the structure in Memphis. The first half of which is the approved current form. Just tons of stuff like that and as a service technician I am aware of the fact that under any version of our approved written service structure there has always been allowance made for individual initiative, for group initiate and area, regional or world. So that a piece of written material could originate from a member, from a group, from an area from a region or from a world level committee, now there is their theory. And in application, some pieces have originated from all those levels. Okay and then I think the last few years they have been having such a time of it that it is like the belief, fear, or something like that. No if we got literature from individuals or small groups the chance that it would be good enough to reach approval without extensive rewriting , restructuring, rephrasing, you know take out addiction put in drug addiction and just rubber stamping it making sure all the little terms are cool. It is just like exclude that no more members initiative. Still I think we are going to have members who write books and I would love to see a hundred of them. I may not read all hundred books but I would cherish the choice. Meanwhile if World Lit wants to pursue its staff team approach and all that I think that it is just a real shame, a tragedy, and an abuse, but if that is what they want to do and you all are going to let them, get away with it then fine let them do it. But I still think loving individuals can do more than rich bureaucrats actually. Therefore, if they want to do that I am not mad at them and I hope they ain’t mad if I do not do that and try to find some other positive thing to do. I am really tired of even following the plot I mean it is just lame. And I know the beauty in you all you can do it. So what is next you all want to go to dinner? Applause

 

 

                               

 

 

 

               

Tape 6

Allentown History Literature Addathon 1990

Problems / Solutions

 

God, Grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change. The courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference. Okay we are going to continue this workshop. What we want to focus on now is a, I believe Bo stopped off somewhere around 1982 and we are going to start with Dave sharing some things about 1982 on. Things that worked things that did not work and then we want to come up to the present and look at some questions you may have or some type of solution process we have or that we want to begin looking at. With that, what I want to do is we can get Dave up to the front up here and he is going to start off where Bo left off.

 

I have to finish taking my vitamins y’all, (anybody got a white chip) (Laughter). HaHa lithium is a salt, why do not we use it on steak. Well I am supposed to open this session here, Hello WSO. My name is Grateful Dave and I am an addict. Hi Dave, Hi Family. (Laughter) send one to Stu Tordman, will you. No, I can break my anonymity but they cannot.

 

The title of this session is problems and possible solutions and as you have kind of gotten the idea over the course of the weekend. I probably can recount verbatim the problems that have occurred over the past bunch of years, because I am sort of NA historian. I id not start out to be that way you know what I mean but God had other ideas. Because if it was left up to me I would go sit like a knot on a log in a group somewhere and drink coffee and go (noises). I do not know if you have seen this here. This is called an inventory input document. I put this together with a couple of people down in Philadelphia the well it was for a while it use to be the radical capital of the east coast this year but all our regional servants sold out and took positions you know. So basically this is a suggested format for groups, areas and regions to inventory World Service performance with recommendations for action. Now there is a lot of superfluous fluff in here, you know but maybe you want to attempt to get a copy. There was one of these sent to every region in the world, every RSR, every alternate, every conference participant, chair, board of director, trustee and vice chair, and an attempt to foster discussion at the World Service Conference. We have learned that the World Service Conference is not a place to discuss things. It is a place to beat up on each other for about fifteen hours a day once a year and ignore each other. So what I am going to do is kind of read through a summary of events that cause concern and then I am going to go into kind of like, this isn’t all but kind of the high points. Take notes ask questions, if you have a problem that you want to talk about, come up and say what the problem is. If you have a solution that you want to talk about, come up and give us the solution. If you just want to come up and run your mouth then stay seated.

 

So, the summary of events that causes concern, the deletion of group conscience material from the Basic Text, fourth and 9th Tradition language 1982. Deleted language from Tradition 4, second paragraph third sentence use to read,”the answer is that these things

 

 

Are not NA” and also sentence #6 use to read “all else is not NA”. Deleted language from Tradition 9 was in the last paragraph the deleted third sentence read, “None of them has the power to rule, censor, decide or dictate”. Then there was a phrase that was deleted that they exist to serve the fellowship but they are not apart of Narcotics Anonymous. These deletions dramatically affect the meaning of these traditions. Controversy over our World Service Office resulted in the firing of our office manager in 1983. That was Jimmy Kinnon and we have talked about that all day here.

WSC minutes 83, page 32 , We direct the policy subcommittee to rewrite the service structure for approval but everybody that I know that was at the conference says it was for review at the WSC. What we are talking about here is that we were given an inaccurate history or incomplete history of the history of the guide to service. How that got started there, select committee was appointed in 1983 at the World Service Conference to rewrite the blue and green service manual. Which the first fifteen pages of one was approved and the second fifteen pages of a other was approved the subsequent year and they compiled all this stuff with a bunch of input from other regions and policy committees and what have you. Two policy committees refused to deal with it so they created a select committee at the conference that is still working folks; they just changed the name to the Ad Hoc Committee on NA service. There whole idea is to go on, they never asked.

 

Okay the appointment of a select committee by the WSC chair in 1984 , this committee was only to review the 83 policy report which I just told you what it was, and to prepare it for fellowship review by November, ‘84, the select committee failed to meet the November ‘84 date and continues to work. Somewhere along the line, the select committee decides that it is suppose to totally rewrite our service structure all by itself. See WSC ’84 minute’s page 59, 14, 15 and 22. The WSO hires, unauthorized hiring of professional writers in 1985 and 1987. What happened was that the conference passed the motion in 1985 to have the Basic Text professionally edited for grammar, punctuation, syntax singular and plural verb tense and that kind of stuff but was not to change the concept of it. When they hired the writer to do that the writer didn’t do that but in fact what the writer did at that time was become the author of a white copy of approval copy of “It Works, How and Why” which was then referred to as the 12 and 12.

 

But it was like, and I have the letters over here that were hired before the conference in ’85 and the conference in ’85 was where the motion was brought up and everybody was upset because they went and hired this professional writer without consulting the conference, with out consulting the fellowship. The unauthorized contracts for the step portion of, It Works, cost us $100.000.00 dollars. Nobody approved that but the WSO, Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees and the chairperson of the World Service Conference. Those people were at that time it was Sally Evans, George Houlihan. Then after the fellowship voted down the sober approval copy of “It Works, How and Why” was written by Jacqueline Lair who was 16 years sober in AA and was a friend of Sally

 

 

 

 

Evans and that is how they got together for that contract and of course it is a documented fact right here, I got it. Problems, we are talking about problems. We are talking about our service structure doing things on self‑will without consulting the fellowship first. Then and Bo remembers this when we were in Newark remember when they said, oh man that sixty thousand dollars we spent for the professional traditions is really unusable and Bo says, well we can’t hide it from them they will find out about it anyway. Remember, yeah so we wasted $160.000.00 dollars without consulting the fellowship, and we spent another $200.000.00 dollars giving World Literature Committee money to do “It Works”.

 

If you want to avoid guidelines in this fellowship, you create an Ad Hoc Committee. Ad Hoc Committees don’t have to follow guidelines, so the World Literature Committee have become Ad Hocs of two people, okay that is what is was last year, that why they could. Then they went off and doing like all these back door things and telling us that our input is sixth grade and , blah, blah. Blah. Problems, problems, boy, oh boy, oh boy have we got problems.

 

The WSO was presented a gift of the World Convention Corporation after the Chicago Convention. The World Convention use to be under the auspices of the fellowship and forty percent of the money went to the World Service Conference to help support the volunteer service structure. In 1985 the DC Convention Committee kept $85.000.00 dollars in CD’s. The WSO went down there with a special rescue committee John Curley, Dutch Hubber and some other people Tony Daddio went down there who were you know big wigs in NA at the time and rescued the money, and the WSO took the corporation at that point and made it a wholly owned subsidiary of the WSO. Removed the ability for the convention to be bid on need and be passed around and took the money from, the total money and kept that and put it right back in to the WSO and it has been that way ever since 1985. I do not go to World Conventions any more because it was stolen. That is just an indication of some of the stuff that has been going on in the name of carrying the message to the addict that still suffers you know.

 

The 1985 and the ’87 guide to service was written by this select committee, without asking the fellowship for approval and the conference agenda to rewrite the service structure. I am trying to go over this quickly and it is hard to go over it quickly it really is. The Board of Trustees failure to respond to fellowship problems to fulfill their oversight functions and to report the true nature of office and conference activities to the fellowship at large. The Board of Trustees has gone from impotent to omnipotent in one fell swoop (Laughter). The creation of WSO dependent fellowship relations outside the borders of the US by the unauthorized use of office staff, WSO resources, materials and money. This is a part of an overall unapproved marketing and public relations merchandising effort undertaken by an Executive Director and the Board of Directors of the WSO. What I am talking about is going to Cairo when there is three meetings in a treatment center and needing an Arabic Basic Text and going to Brazil during carnival time and taking a guy from the Florida Region down there with him on a WSO ticket because he speaks Spanish and the Assistant Executive Director does not speak Spanish, but they speak Portuguese in Brazil.

 

So, (Laughter) we are what we are doing is getting the fast shuffle, the shuck and jive. We have been getting the shuck and jive for a long time okay. All right the joint administrative committee like who in the hell gave them the right to make motions? They took the right to make motions; they were never given the right to make motions. They were suppose to add motions, not create them they were suppose to add them to the conference agenda report when they came in from the regions. The JAC has become an unauthorized block between the regional structure and the committee structure of the fellowship. So the JAC ignores the conscience of the fellowship and held an unapproved expanded joint administrative committee meeting in July of ’89, then covers up by changing the name of to Expanded Ad Hoc Committee on NA Service. When confronted in St. Louis, Jack Bernstein went; well well well well, that was an expanded Ad Hoc Meeting. From a guide to service that we never asked for at a cost of $35.000.00 per meeting and they held two last year. The total ticket is mounting up you see. The freedom with the money that belongs to God see the money that comes from your basket in your home group and is generated in Narcotics Anonymous via anything doesn’t belong to us, does not belong to a corporation, it doesn’t belong to going for five dollar a pound coffee. What it belongs to is it belongs to carry the message to addict that still suffers? We have no moral right to capriciously use these funds and to spend them in ways that are not the most thrifty possible.

 

The joint administrative committee chair, not the Ad hoc chair, chaired the meeting that was held there. So how could they call it an Ad Hoc committee if they would not allow the Ad Hoc committee chair to chair the expanded Ad Hoc Meeting? Oh boy oh boy have we got problems, and not enough time given to the fellowship to study changes in policy that affect our groups and services. JAC motion #6 at WSC ’89 keeps all service related material from fellowship eyes. This motion with JAC motion #3 and last years agenda, thank God it was tabled which means yes but you know next year said that coupled with the policy committee motion #6 in the ’88 conference agenda will assure that groups have no say in service manuals or WSC service committee guidelines. The World Literature Committee is ignoring and changing its own policies and guidelines. The WSO is financing and using special workers in literature projects and service related projects in contradictions of Traditions 7, 8, and 9. This was before they were approved to be used, okay the Supreme Court decision, June 5, 1989 it affects the copyright ownership it is amazing. It is amazing how the staff writer approach became real popular right about the time that the Supreme Court was deciding this very important copyright issue. That decision is the (Community for Creative Non Violence vs. Reed) June 5, 1989 which specifically deals with the relationship of an employer and an employee and who owns materials made for hire. If WSO Inc. is allowed to have writers of literature or service materials as paid off the staff, our copyrights could be taken from fellowship control and the creation of a Canadian Service Conference without the specific knowledge or requests from home groups in Canada. It was a meeting that occurred at 7:00 in the morning in one of the World Service Conferences by Bob Stone and several of the delegates from the Canadian Regions and they came up with this idea that they were going to start a Canadian World Service Conference. Of course this was the big thing, everybody, nobody disputed any of the documentation in this inventory input packet on the floor of the World Service Conference except this one. Well you know some good detective work and you know so I had to say to people, maybe I was wrong on one but what about the rest of them. (Yeah, yeah that is true but well maybe that is true but we need to focus on today). Well you know how can you focus on today without taking an inventory, because you are all bogged down in the past if you don’t focus on today. I got to get rid of the past to get to the present. This is one of the reasons why we are doing a history workshop. Okay.

 

So they used office staff to put all this together, board members, trustees, RSRs and members of committees traveled back and forth to Canada. You know it was suppose to be their model service structure placed on a guide to service. Did you ever wonder why Canada had their guide to services and the drafts for the guide to service than the American fellowship? This is a plan; there is a plan to do away with everything that we know about service in Narcotics Anonymous that was based on the 12 Traditions and the NA Tree that has been going on for a long time. Fawn talked about it the people who started it are still doing it, they just change places like chameleons you know. WSO and WSC seem to be creating an independent autonomous service office and service structure whose relationship to the fellowship and their desires are virtually non‑existent. Did any of you want to have the trustees to have a blank check to write the Traditions? Did that come out of your regions (as if yeah we want the trustees to have a blank check) how about motion #3? Motion #3 was well if you guys do not like what we do then you can fix it next year, but the committees can write their on guidelines and just let us know. What are they doing? They are taking the control away from the ultimate authority which is a loving God expressing himself through our 9th Tradition. They are taking away that authority and that control. Making the WSC, which is actually the lowest element of the service structure. Because an educated home group member is the crown jewel of the service structure, that is where it all begins and ends with the member in the home group. There is no such thing as an area conscience. Areas do not have conscience, where does it say that in our Traditions. You know we look at our Traditions and it talks about groups, group conscience, but if you manage to fuck up and let that word slip out of your mouth at the World Conference you were booed off the floor. Spiritual principles got (Blahhhed) I mean if you were bumbling enough not to you know, talk their language. Group conscience does not exist folks in our World Services. It never did and

it does not now. So when you get something coming down the pike and that has World Service Conference or Board of Trustees or this one or something that has some official looking stamp on a letterhead. Look for money, control, if you can see the issues that confront our fellowship in the context of those two things then they make perfect sense. (Well what is there to gain)? A lot of addicts, for a lot of addict’s power and prestige are much more seductive and much more meaningful to them than money. Man you take somebody who was crawling around on the floor for shit that sparkled with a straw in their nose you know a couple of years ago. Eating out of dumpsters and you say well gosh I am a worlds servant now, and I am chair of this and chair of that and boy I am the international coordinator for this. I mean what an ego gratifying thing that that might be, and to make that climb to that level of service when do you have time to work a job and the steps? Believe me I know, I tried it. I am glad I went crazy before I got a position on the world level and had to work the steps.

 

Okay voting by RSRs at WSC on motions that have never been reviewed by the entire fellowship via the conference agenda report and not asking that motions that will affect NA as a whole be tabled until the next WSC and published in the conference agenda report for the following year. Well for crying aloud, AA does that, AA do not vote on shit capriciously, of course they do not voting on nothing. Strike that from the history books (Laughter). The suspending of conference committee business, we were sent out a document called the 12 Principles of Service. It said in the 11th Principle it said that, under no circumstances should NA services be interrupted, okay. So even the people who were prostilitizing this guide to service and these documents and these principles had interrupted and cancelled the World Service Conference Committee business for the course of the year. Well we do not have enough money to fund the committees but we have enough money to spend $70.000.00 dollars to fly all these people to talk about a service structure that we never asked for. Yeah we got problems. Our 9th Tradition says that we may create service boards and committees directly responsible to those they serve, now what is the flip side of that. The flip side of that is that we may UN‑create them. If a service board or committee does not directly, responsibly serve the needs of those that created it then it is dead wood, it is baggage, it is a drain and it is a problem. You know directly responsible does not mean (this fucking guy has to be responsible). That is a two way street too, we have a responsibility. We cannot afford to advocate our responsibility under God to determine the direction of our fellowship or we will loose it. In my view, we lost it this World Service Conference and I never said that before. I always thought that there was a way to pull it back and maybe there is but the only thing they understand is hardball, reality, hit them where it hurts. Where does it hurt, if they cant fly around on their ego trip and stay in the fancy hotels no more the semi pro and professional NA member. Then maybe services wont be attractive we will get back to hitch hiking when we use to get things done for nothing, and when the addict was precious and the power was not the ultimate goal. Yeah sure, I bet you they go home and pray at night, I wonder what they pray to, I do not know, I do not know.

 

So anyway they suspended all these committee meetings, I got the reports right there. We are suspending the conference committee business as usual because we cannot afford to do that but we will be meeting in Albuquerque to discuss the principles of service and the guide to service, signed Tim Banner, Policy Chair. He was reading all this stuff that I sent out and he was going oh yeah all right, until he saw his name there and said oh gosh they are talking about me. But see what they have done for years is taken the champions the people who believed in something and who stood up on the floor at the conference and said hey look this is wrong and took moral stands. People use to say, No I don’t want a position, no the conscience of my region says no this is wrong and I represent the conscience of my region. Now they tell you that you are a world servant and you do not represent the conscience of your region but that you really representing the best interest of NA as a whole. So what we have got is a lack of moral leadership in our fellowship, you know. They rub down the champions and say I know you had a motion to disband the JAC, but how about if elect you vice chair of policy Mitchell you know you can become the vice chair of policy, you just put that motion to disband the JAC in your back pocket and you can work from the inside. How about you Al Riser you know you came out here with a motion unanimous group conscience to return the Traditions to the fellowship. To return the Traditions to the fellowship, unanimous regional conscience. How would you like it if we let you have a position on the trustee traditions Ad Hoc Committee, would not you like that Al? Well yeah, you can do so much good by representing your regions point of view from the inside, and zazoom, zazoom, zazoom our world history is littered with the wreckage. The reason we have regional policy in Philadelphia is because we had five RSRs in a row go out there and become world this and world that and we never saw them again. Conflict of interest. We do not have people in World Service working a program. Yeah they work service real good, they know how to survive. They know how to go out there year after year and end up going back on them plane trips. What are they doing? Are they leading us or are they selling us down the river? Do we need them, what do we need them for? To take $4000.00 dollars to travel in a year? That when they come back from the conference after being totally maligned and laughed at and ridiculed to save their position to tell us maybe we just need to work from within and let our voices be heard. Man we have been doing that since 1982. Mid Atlantic RSR, we will not buy the books unless you put the language that was deleted back in, what did they do for him. They made him policy chair and then trustee. Relax man relax, you work from within. All right I mean have we got problems, Is it evident. I mean these are recent, since ’82 that is where Bo left off about ’82 the approval of the text. Let me tell you.

 

I mean you have all heard me talk about today how the deletions and the additions and all this stuff. How many Basic Text we have had and all that and I just told you about the professional writers and the contracts that were done. The disunity and the controversy that it cost and you know and I have to pass the World Lit Chair here who has been there through it all, going (ummmhummm). If I run a foul of the truth please you know let me know.

 

Let us know if I am sitting up here blowing off bullshit. (Audience) (Dave, do us a favor, keep your personal opinion out of it, and just keep it to the facts.) Hey man, I am reading the facts right here. (You seem to be judgmental of some people here and I do not think that is right). Well you know sue me. You know I cannot be spiritual all the time. I am trying to be as spiritual as possible, because if I told you what I really wanted to do then you know, but never mind that.

 

The surprise of the fellowship to find out that the trustees had been allowed by the WSC to take over the writing of the traditions book, I mean that just appeared on the floor of the World Service Conference. I mean you know we have had a lot of problems in lit we had a World Literature Chairperson that took the literature files out of the WSO and blackmailed the WSO manager into giving her a paid position before she you know. I mean come on are we going to stand up you know and tell the truth, so here we go. Then we had a World Literature Vice‑chair that was caught by the office staff breaking in the files to get regional input out during “It Works, How and Why”. He was taken on the floor of the Board of Trustees and reprimanded, did you ever hear about that stuff. Is this your fellowship, Narcotics Anonymous? Did you get a chance to talk about these things? Did anybody ever tell you the truth, or did they cover it up and make it look pretty. Isn’t everything pretty and nice, Narcotics Anonymous, oh boy watch how it glitters and shines? Well there is nothing wrong with Narcotics Anonymous like I said yesterday and that is the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, those are perfect, perfect. People are imperfect; our structure is imperfect, okay. So anyway, nobody asked for all this bullshit to go on man, excuse me.

The summary of events that cause concerns. Did anybody vote on having a $38.00 dollar Basic Text? Did you guys ask for one of them, having the WSO being able to adopt amend or repeal their by‑laws, or to pay themselves anything that they want? Did you know that the WSO sells forty‑five percent of all its literature to outside enterprises at a cheaper price then it will sell it to the fellowship? Did you know that five million dollars was the gross income of the World Service Office last year, and they stood up on the floor of the conference right before the conference they raised the shipping price and on the floor of the conference they said, well we are broke man we have to raise the price of literature. We cannot fund this stuff, if you want something to die, do not fund it. Good lesson being taught to us by the World Service Office. If you want something to die, do not fund it. If they ain’t got money for plane tickets, they ain’t going to fly. Do you know how much the volunteer service structure the world volunteer service structure gross income was, $280.000.00 dollars. Now we had an office that had a gross income of five million dollars that said well we are not part of you and we cannot give the money back to you legally. You cannot use it in your volunteer service structure. Then we have their travel budget was the same price as what our entire volunteer service structure had to do all their work with in the world. Something is wrong, take a snapshot and step back, wait a minute. I do not think Jimmy Kinnon had that in mind, or this guy had that in mind, you know. I think that some real sharpies like the former World Service Office Manager. He was a paid consultant. You know what a consultant is right; a consultant tells you how to get around the rules and to maximize your profits under the law. Bob Stone was a paid consultant for political candidates and also a consultant for non‑profit corporations in California. He was brought in to help orchestrate the changeover from a zero money profit office into the multi million‑dollar corporation with 48 employees that are over achievers that we have today.

 

The WSO has been subsidizing the formation of regional structures outside of the fellowship, paying lodging, paying travel, sending people over there. I mean I gave you a couple of examples. WSO has no financial guidelines what so ever. They have no accountability and have not given us a certified audit like they are suppose to under California Law. What we have had in our literature is like an attempt so that treatment centers will buy it, because that is where we are selling a major portion. Because a major portion of our income is going to be coming from the treatment community worldwide. When I first got clean thirty percent of the NA members that came around were, and I was on World PI back then in the early days so we had these figures available to us, but thirty percent of our members came through some kind of an institution that was just some kind of an institution. Approximately seventy percent of our members were walk ins, walk ins off the street. But that has turned around and those percentages are totally reversed today, so we need to look pretty for the outside enterprises. Our literature has to be slick, well written you know, and devoid of anything controversial, that may go against their treatment modality. At any rate, we spent a lot of money.

 

Now on the literature deal, there has been a lot of talk about how addicts cannot write and how the literature process has not worked. Well in 1984 in Santa Monica they put together, this little draft called “It Works, How and Why”. Well they didn’t have a title for it they called it the 12 and 12 and basically it was like because you know we had a Basic Text and now we need a 12 and 12. But back then, most of the people called the Basic Text the NA Big Book. Well interestingly enough the AA Big Book was called the basic text so it is a little schizophrenia (Laughter). You know my sponsor is giving me the 123 and 12 to work, so we needed a 12 and 12 and that was a legitimate thing so we got ourselves a 12 and 12 on input in California workshop, then it went to ( ) and here and there. I will there has not been a single piece of fellowship input in a book length project since that draft in 1984. Every piece of input that has been sent in by regions, areas, groups and members on “It Works, How and Why” has been put in who knows where file 13. We went out and worked in Chicago. We had 10 World Literature

Workshops, it was beautiful, we flew around, boy we had a dog and pony show and it was great. It was an attempt to return to the old days because the fellowship had had it up to here. That project was deliberately sabotaged, that literature project. Our steps and

Traditions books had cost us so far about $650.000.00 dollars total, if you throw in the $81.000.00 dollars that the World Literature Committee is going to get for a budget this year. What the hell are they going to do with it? I don’t know what they are going to do with it because they got staff team writers that are going to be paid by the office to do all the work. What are they going to do, fly around? Or are they going to give us for those in treatment,” “In Times of Illness” or In Times of Aids, or whatever you know more outside. You notice how we are catering to treatment centers now; it is like let us get it for those in treatment. Lets talk about behind the walls, well they missed a bet there they could have got really generic, how about for those who are unable to attend regular NA Meetings. Man they could have sold that everywhere. It is interesting how none of the steps and traditions work has any reference at all to the Basic Text. It is interesting how there is not a single line out of anything in the Basic Text (end of side one)

 

Make it a logical progression. I mean we see as a literature committee for years, and years and years the pain and the agony of trying to get our World Service to be responsible. I remember sitting in Charlotte as regional literature vice chair twenty regional literature chairs standing around two world pass world literature chairs that were not allowed to speak, in a world literature meeting. Well that was when I forced Jack Bernstein, me and a girl named Bonnie Harvey forced Jack Bernstein to tell us the truth after he had lied to us for a year and a half about the “It Works How and Why” project. You know we have not gotten any better; it is years and years and years. You know what we keep buying it, we keep going ‘oh unity’ and the world says. Then you hear someone in a home group say,”Well I called the world and the world said”. Well the world what, the world who, where you know the world what, the World service Office. What is the WSO being involved in our conscience in the service related matters. That is directly against their personnel policies and it is on page 2 in the 5th paragraph right there. It says absolutely not, you are not supposed to have an opinion on service related matters. So you see they are operating in violation of the guidelines. Robin and I were having a lovely conversation over dinner about how this has been going on. You know we have people here that know the truth, that have been there. They can give us solutions, part of the solutions you know are being talked about here today. Here are some examples, Encourage by example, taken a group conscience inventory of our World Service structure and our own area, regional and group structures. Sponsor learning days; work with present groups in areas to improve practical application of the principle of group conscience. Form new groups in areas committed to the practical application of the principle of group conscience. Encourage letters, petitions and motions for action to support positions for change. I mean all of these things are kind of action oriented you know so we cannot change by everyone sitting on their ass warming a seat.

 

Build support for actions at the WSC ’90. Well we went out there as a body, more organized and more unified than at any time in the history of the World Service Conference. We did everything that everyone asked us to, it was all turned around on us and if you look in the NA Way and you look in the fellowship reports, and you look at the lies being told about the people from the east coast. You know we are a bunch of wide‑eyed radicals came there with no intention other than to destroy World Services. I mean that is what they are saying and it is just not true, just not true. You know we have a conscience in this part of the world because we wrote a Basic Text here. We have experience with anonymity and group conscience and direct responsibility. We wrote a book anonymously it came together. We understood that people with 20 years and twenty days had the same thing going for themselves. We have experience with that around here and that has woven its way into the fabric of what we do in our service structure. The rest of the fellowship does not have a clue folks. So maybe we need to form an east coast conference to protect and preserve these principles that we hold so near and dear and send our RSRs as usual to the World Service Conference but take care of our own business at home. I mean quit beating our heads against the brick wall of people who have not arrived yet, to understand the perfection and the purpose of the Traditions. We have experience with them. There are members here who wrote on Basic Text. There are members here that participated in the literature conferences. There are members here that were part of World Services when it was totally open. You can learn from us, or we can become part of the blob, we can just go, shit our service structure does not mean nothing, after all how did we get 20,000 meetings a week. Oh, we got it from some fundamentally unsound spiritual principles. That is what we are being asked to believe by this new guide to services and new service structure and principles and all this other kind of hogwash. It is like you know you guys got here and it was all wrong, how you did it that is what they are telling us.

 

Okay maybe we should all NA literature should be written by the processes that have been talked about today. Now we can do that, it is very easy. You pick up a pen and you start writing, and you know what you do, you get on the telephone and you say you know I just wrote something, how would like to see it. You got a fax machine, you got a computer modem (zipppppp, vrroomm, it is gone). We have computer programs and bright sharp people and fax machines and everything else, which needs a World Literature Committee. They have not written anything in six years anyway. You can write I can write, I wrote a hundred page step book. They took one look at it and said, well this came from you we are not going to use this. A big guy from Florida had just left you know he gave his regional input twice to Bob Stone. Bob Stone lost it, well gee you know we lost it. My region, the Philadelphia region went to the conference and the New Jersey region went to St. Louis looking for our input in World Lit in the master files you know(poof) disappeared was not even there. Hey, folks it is time to do something different.

We can eliminate committee and trustee votes at the WSC, that is no guarantee that it will solve the solution because there are regions that do not have a conscience, they do not know what it is. They got forty meetings in it and the state is 6,000 square miles

 

In addition, the meetings area hundred miles apart from one another and they are still going to AA, they have not even gotten a first step yet in those regions. So we are bucking up against something. We have to exhibit the leadership, we have to exhibit the leadership or be led. We can, you know we made motions, I mean here are 157 motions that were written, that were taken in to world committees to be discussed. They were not even discussed; they were laughed at and tossed over people’s heads. They Did not discuss anything on the merits of anything. The WSC is not a place to discuss things. It is a place to run on self wills, it is a place to beat each other up. We could have eliminated the Board of Directors and directly elected the members during the conference. But when Bob Stone stood up on the floor of the conference and said you cannot do that it is illegal. Therefore, I went right to my little brief case and got the laws of the State of California and I said, oh, you are in for a fun conference Bob, here are the laws and I gave them to two lawyers. The two lawyers who were RSRs and a trustee, stood up on the floor of the conference, and said well there is nothing in the laws that say we cannot elect the directors right directly from the floor. (But maybe we want to think about that)

 

We got to rain in our WSO. We have to let the conference and the volunteer service structure administer the copyrights and the money. We do not want to give them to the BOT (Board of Trustees) because the BOT are now in a power hungry move to take over the control of the fellowship. The single board concept, the merger between the WSO Board of Directors and the WSO Board of Trustees is a sure lock on the road to the guide to service. So maybe we need to create an independent fiduciary relationship and responsibility ( ) conference. Maybe we need to sue for the return of our copyrights to their rightful owners which is you. (Dadada)

 

The most important thing is that we have never had a service structure. We have had a lot of descriptions and some nice ideas, we had an NA Tree, we had a blue manual and a green manual but we have never had a draft of a service structure. How do you use group conscience…Wow what does that mean. Well we inequitably apply that principle on the east coast pretty much. It is not the same in every region because nobody has ever put a draft together a service structure that even attempted to describe what group conscience is. Group conscience‑ group tally is a service structure that has yet to be written. All that means is that the decision of the group is a loving God and it should be passed through the service structure without interference to the WSC to implement the decisions of the group. It is a structure based on group tally, one group one vote, abstentions do not count. It takes six tenths of all registered groups to pass or fail anything. So if ten thousand groups vote, if six thousand groups vote yes, it is yes. Abstentions do not count; obviously, they do not have a conscience so they should not be voting.

 

Abstentions have never meant anything in terms of vote. If you look in Roberts Rules of Order, but we have four ways of voting on the WSC floor, abstentions have this. Abstentions folks mean absent you are absent. The only legitimate vote is the number of voting people voting, period end of story. In other words two‑thirds of the yays or nays, abstentions are absent; they just are not there unless you have a roll call situation and blah blah blah blah blah. So we got, there is a lot of thins we can do, disband the Ad Hoc Committee on NA Service, we tried that you know. To have the fellowship team approach for our literature, to allow our fellowship literature committee where our areas and regions, groups and members can get together and write literature. To preserve literature written by the addict for the addict, to hopefully retain the message and the inspiration and the spirit that was generated by that special process that occurred in the development of NA literature. To print and distribute literature for free allowing our 7th Tradition to support these activities. I mean you know you see this little free Basic Text lying running around, they are free in home group’s man. They are on the table right out of the baskets. I mean you can do something, if we get enough people who want to do this as Home Groups who the hell they going to take to court, who they going to sue. They going to sue you, Narcotics Anonymous, they going to sue your home group, stand for something. You know the whole international issue, everybody is sawing and crying about the international issues and this and that. You know what the international issue is. That we have failed to put our money where our mouth is as a fellowship, that is what the international issue is. Four years ago, I proposed a translation plan for literature. That was thrown in the garbage, I re‑proposed and it was thrown in the garbage again, it was thrown in the garbage again. I will tell you, if you try to control God in your own personal recovery, you know what the results are they are disastrous. So if you try to control God in the process of growth and development in our service structure then the results are disastrous. So here is a way to ease all the control out, it is like okay gee obviously we as a service body have been inept, at doing and translating your literature like it should have been done. Here take a book, take a pamphlet translate it, print it, end of the international issue. The other issue is international service. Now who the hell are we to be meddling in international service affairs? Let people according to the laws and needs of their own fellowship do their own service. I mean who the hell are we to dictate the American fellowship, boy are we the big wigs you know. But we are so busy getting new budgets and talking about new ways to avoid guidelines that we have ignored our primary purpose. There was not a word that I hear the entire week at the WSC did I not I not hear our primary purpose mentioned. Why are we doing this? There was never a moment of reflection there was never a moment of sober insight and thought about what is the reason that we are doing this. Yep there is a proper application of that word you know. It is all about budgets, it was all about power, it was all about control, and it was all about trustee and ad‑men votes. We would not have gone in the directions we had gone if the regions had voted. Yes in some cases we would have but if, the regions had voted we would not have had the necessary two‑thirds to pass a lot of the bullshit that passed. We have to fix it and if it is broke fix it.

 

If you cannot fix it then get rid of it and create something, you know gosh, there is a loving God that will lead us, guide us in our creative efforts as long as we do not throw blame, point fingers, manipulate, and control each other. If we just allow a loving, God to be there when we do something everything is going to work out all right. What happens is God goes out of the picture when we start pointing fingers and throwing blame and I seem to be pointing fingers and throwing blame up here. You know and yeah my personality enters into it, but I tell you what. What I am saying to you and what I am talking about here is all documented; it is all available for anybody. If you doubt me, come to my house. You got a question about anything that I have said take a note, write it down come and visit me, take my phone number call me. You will need to do that for the books anyway.

 

Therefore, we can provide all WSC minutes, BOT committees’ office board minutes. I mean there was a motion passed in ’84 to do that and the WSO has never done that. If you call the WSO you ask for the minutes of the trustee meeting and blah blah blah blah blah, or minutes of the WSC in ’82 they tell you, well we do not have that stuff. Well you know their guidelines tell say that they are supposed to have that stuff there available to us. We are talking about, there is no real simple way, and there are so many problems and so many potential solutions. You know the solutions and the creativity that it will take to move us out of the abyss of where we are at the moment is going to come from you. It is going to come from your Home Group it is going to come from sitting in meetings like this and going, well you know that Dave is full of shit and I really would not want him running anything. If you don’t want me running anything then you better get up and start running it yourself, and if you don’t want them running things then you better get up and start running things yourself. I mean you are the hope, you are the future, every addict sitting here in this room and all the people that you sponsor, and your sponsors who have better things to do you know now that they got theirs. Who want to go out and do whatever they do, you know it is time man, carry the message. You know it is Carry, its work, Carry the message its work. Something worth having is worth working for. I do not know where the energy comes from, because if it was coming from me I would not be able to sustain the level of commitment. I would not be able to stand in front of people year after year after year and challenge them. The energy that you see is coming from personal recovery and the understanding in my relationship with a loving God. I am not out to people please, I am not out for you to love me, I am out to love myself and have a loving God think kindly of me when I die and that may not be to far off. Only God knows that, because I got that Aids virus you know and almost died in October, but I know he is keeping me alive so I can come up here and talk to you all. He ain’t keeping me alive for my stupid reasons, see what I mean. So you know why do I do this. Why in the world would I stand up here, make these fabulous kinds of claims and charges, and do this year after year after year after year.

 

I do not care if there is a trustee in the room, I do not care if Jesus Christ himself is in the room because I am telling the truth. Ahh the truth sets you free, first it will piss you off and if it does not piss, you off then you are probably comatose. Get yourself a copy of your inventory input documents.

 

You know what, if you did not see this in your home group then somebody along the line in your service structure is a “Censor”. Censored your right to know, and you know we have such emotional connotations attached to that word. You know what I mean “Censored” but a censor is for me to determine that because this has WSC approved on it and this has from the inventory input committee. How do I know which one is bullshit or not? Huh, how do I know, if you do not get a chance to judge these things equally, you know all it is, is information does not make it right, does not make it wrong. You know I have resigned service positions because people wanted me to determine what was best for them to see and they hated to see me coming to area service, because I always had a stack of shit. You know I got this in the mail and I seen this and I pulled this out of the minutes and here is from the fellowship minutes in ’84, because it pertains to this service thing we are doing today. And people are like get the fuck out of here (Laughter) and you know what they asked me to be a censor. I do not have any moral right to determine what it is as a servant that you should see or not see. I cannot make that moral determination so I resigned my service position and I brought the stuff anyway. You know what after the WSC they were having a meeting in my old area at the area service and you know what they were all upset because all the stuff that was passed at the WSC. They were” This sucks, how did they do this” Somebody said you know what Grateful Dave was telling us about this stuff two or three years ago and nobody wanted to listen to him then. So there was dead silence in the room for two minutes, you could hear a pin drop. I do not say that to pat myself on the back. I say that, that is your job as well as a member of Narcotics Anonymous to know where you are in reality. However, addicts like to duck reality, hey, man reality is reality. We got real problems and there are real solutions. So somebody says is it feasible that we can print our own literature? Yeah it is feasible, here it is. Yes we can do that, yeah we can, see. Is it feasible, obviously, it is. If you have a problem with that, that is all right because if you need more information rather than getting these scary letters from the BOT. The big chin goons they tell, Ahh they read it all, it is all lies, everything that is in there. I asked him to answer that question; there is not a grain of truth in them letters about what they are telling you about that Basic Text, not a single grain of truth in it. If you want more information, more information is available to you. If you need to be at the quarterly workshop tomorrow when we take a big tape of the WSO board of director chair saying,” well you know you guys can print anything you want to in your home group”. Won’t that be nice we will play that in front of everybody that is permission to print? The Board of Director chair gave the groups permission to print. Now he may deny that in public but won’t he be embarrassed when we crank that up full volume.

 

Won’t that be an interesting thing, when one of the trustees says, I do not believe in you selling the book, I mean it is terrible you are using the book as a political football. When 500 books were sold out of his house in Georgia, hmmm. Stand for something or fall for anything, see what I mean. You cannot be a flip‑flop, because nobody including yourself will ultimately respect you for being a flip‑flop. Either you are an us, or you are a them, you either are part of the solution or you are the problem that is the bottom line man. I do not care how you slice it the only gray area in spiritual principles exists between your right ear and your left ear. (Laughter, Clapping)

 

You have your hand up. I am an addict, and what I want to know I mean and I know there is no simple solution to this because it is like the nature of addiction, not like a quick fix or easy solution. It is just ( ). You know because I have been bringing back a lot of materials and bringing stuff to my home group and show them. And those who read it you know like my home group is like wavering but they are like half way to approving the Basic Text over there. Yeah approving the Basic Text right (Laughter). I am catching flack and shit in other meetings because I am the only one with one of these and I am going to start giving them out. But the people are like jumping on me for bringing them into a meeting but they all want one and shit and they probably not going to want to pay for them but I will bring them back and give them one anyway. You know I just I am looking for some ground to stand on that is a little bit simpler to explain because you just cant fucking understand all this stuff in one day. I cannot say anything in five minutes that is going to convince anybody and you know as if nobody wanted to come out. They all told me to come out and get information and bring it back to them you know, we talk about getting involved they will tell you about having a home group and a group conscience and all that . It is like on this one I am standing, I am not alone I got a couple of friends with me. I am not alone even in my area, but I am in the real significant minority so if got anything for me to go back with I would appreciate it.

 

Grateful Dave: I got one thing to say that you can go back with. God loves a servant you know. Just serve brother serve you know that is it. They cut off John the Baptist head you know but God loves a servant just keep on serving.

 

I am an addict named Bob, Hi Bob. This is a drop in the bucket sounds like with the things in question a lot of it is about besides the classical signs of an addict. The egotistical the power seeking, the conniving, the easiest way out, the quick fix. What I have heard mostly is the violations of the Traditions. What is truly being followed and if it is the Traditions and the spiritual principles I do not know if we can keep ourselves in check, somebody is running wild. I can also place blame on myself as an individual member.

I just came back from an area. Yes, you have a certain amount of people attending home group and a percentage of them attending group conscience, and a percentage of them holding positions and a percentage of that actually being gung ho toward the continuance of this fellowship. I am to blame; I take the blame for that because I am guilty of that too. I just came back from an area from which people are mislead and not informed. Where as for the last two months, I am not sure about the third, but for the last two months in area service committee meetings, we did not have enough GSRs to meet quorum for group motions. All we could do was for the meeting reports, secondary reports and go home after group hug. What is missing with this picture? People are not getting the right facts people are not getting the right idea about the fellowship and I am part of the blame because I am trying to be a responsible member of Narcotics Anonymous. Sure, it may sound like there are a lot of problems up at world level but begins down at the home group. Thanks for letting me share.

 

Thank you Bob. I am an addict my name is Bill. Hi Bill. You know solutions, I think that are more of an emphasism; I think that the need for solutions is the most important thing that an addict can seek. You know I came to Narcotics Anonymous in 1979 for a solution you know and that solution that I was given was a path of recovery to follow. I listened this weekend and what I heard was a lot of information that I have already had and a lot of information that I have not had. I am part of the history; everyone that is in this room is part of the history. History is a continuous thing, it grows daily. History is something that I study in college, do very well, and get A’s in. Because history excites me and history itself is something that I look at in two different ways. You have to look at the whole picture you know it is like, I studied the French Revolution in this last semester, which led into Modern European History, and to remove Napoleon from the whole picture would have changed the whole history of the world, as we know it today. To try to remove a piece of our history and say it did not exist would be part of the problem and the solution is to get our history down. I think that is one of the main solutions I am looking at and what I am enthusiastic about is I am enthusiastic about going to Alabama, which I am going to. I am enthused about communication with some of the people I have met here this weekend, not met but some of the relationships that I have had with people that I have got to meet again. Some of the communications that I have had from participating and putting on this history workshop with Jimmy’s wife. You know a three and a half hour conversation on the telephone. It took me back to the days when Jimmy was my link to Narcotics Anonymous. Jimmy was my link when I couldn’t find no one else at three o’clock in the morning and I couldn’t go to sleep because I was going through a two year withdrawal from meth and he was my conversation piece to get me through until I went to work. It took me back to that, talking to Betty. It took me back to that and the solution is living a principle first of all in ones own personal life, and becoming at peace with ones self‑inside.

 

The solution is not in me trying to come to a point of, what’s that word a comformitory. To conform to everything that you say this is what we do and you are out of unity if you don’t fall in, it aint uniformity. That is not the solution; the solution is becoming an individual being able to make decisions. Being able to collect information before decisions are made on what we have to do. The solution is seeking all that information, seeking everything that comes for us to make a decision upon and looking for all sides of an issue.

 

The literature is the main issue we have been bringing out here this week in the history and literature process. The reason the literature process is brought out is that a main stay of our history is around literature. The literature of what I was introduced to, the literature of the writing of the Basic Text. The little White Book that they called hip pocket of recovery when I first came in that was handed to me and it fit squarely in my back pocket. You know and I come to understand what the little white book is, what it was, was my Basic Text. Today it is, we give it usually to newcomers, and it is a little Basic Text. Because the Basic Text was built from that white book, as a model as a springboard and that is what I have to look at, when I am looking for solutions, what worked, what worked in the past is what I have to seek and what worked was an open communication. So that is something that we have to start establishing again, open communication across the board. What worked was telling people that they can seek there goals and rise above and accomplish things. I mean if you would have told me that we could not do this then I would probably not be here today. What I was introduced to was that I ran into a bunch of people that were writing a book. They gave me a Grey Book and they gave me a 4th Step inventory guide and someone said, “Work the steps or die motherfucker”, factual words. I am not going to tell you hew said it any other way cause that is what the man told me. I took this Grey Book home, that Grey Book I did not look at the cover as review and input. I looked at that as Narcotics Anonymous and I went home. The history in this area is and I do not care what people have to say. What happened was I came to the home group this home group I walked in and I picked all the AA literature up and all the DNA literature and I dumped it in the garbage can and I slapped this book down on the table and I told them, here is our book. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t approved , it didn’t matter, it was a piece of literature that spoke to addicts and that is because some people took what needed to be done and went with it and went around the country. They did not write it for us, but they encouraged us to get involved in the writing of it and it was open committee and that was something that worked. The problems to be what we call an international fellowship somehow confuse me because if you are over in France right now and I am in America I international to you. So I get confused to this separation. It is a worldwide fellowship and the way is teach them how to do it themselves not do it for them. What we have turned our World Services into, and I say what we turned our World Service into is a place to get it all done at. Some

 

Is there a break in the tape or transcription here?

 

How we need to come to a point where we can learn to reverse that process and go back to getting the addicts to do the work for there selves. It accomplishes the goals and teaching them instead of doing those things. How was it done before? What it does is create creativity. That is the basic thing. There are two different types of philosophy we are dealing with, one is business one is creativity. One is personal growth, one is profit, product. The fellowship makes a choice, it is a choice that is made, and I had to learn that as being an RSR for four years and being a World PI Vice‑chair. The choice that was made is that there are regions that do not seek accountability of RSRs and do tell them that they can vote any way they want. Then there are RSRs that go there with specific, so what happens is you’re going to follow your direction and you do a well job at it and then you are in a political system that I feel doesn’t work. Buy why, what is the solution to getting it to work. One thing is I believe is electing trusted servants the minute the conference opens. If you elect them from the start you do not have to worry about when they get to the mic or not. Another thing I believe is in this is seeking a way to seek what the regions want. What do you actually want in the fellowship, that is what they ask when we are writing the book. Every home group got a Grey Book, every home group that was listed. Even dead people got them that were listed (Laughter). Let us get for real the seeker and tried to find whoever was out there to get them a book and get them involved. That is a solution; I am taking to my home group to get these tapes transcribed and that copy sent out to where ever we can get them sent out of what happened. Above board, above board communication and we start that at the home group level though. By protecting ourselves from ourselves, is a major thing we need to seek, I mean I can leave here go with going back to a home group, which this is my home group that is putting this function on. But I can go back to the home group that I belong to with information. What can we do, what can I do as a personal member of Narcotics Anonymous? I do not want a new fellowship; I want a fellowship that is above board open communication. I had a talk with the Board of Director chairperson and he asked me what do you guys want. I said a full accountability, full disclosure of the World Service Office, and we can ask for that. It is our choice to ask for that or not. It is our choice to say that is what we want. We only allow something to run amuck, or we allow to not run amuck. What I have come to believe is the more open communication, the more workshops. Go to your, where ever you are from if you are not from here. Go to where ever you are from and ask your group to schedule a history workshop. You do not need your area to do it, a group can do it a group has that right to be autonomous and that is what a lot of us seem to forget. What can a group do? Narcotics Anonymous was not set up to be centralized.

 

I cannot blame the newcomer. Whom I can blame is myself, our other older members. I mean I can tell you I have got to the point where I have said I want to leave here; I do not want to come here. What good does that do if I share this in a meeting except dissention? That belongs with my sponsor, not using open Narcotics Anonymous meetings as open forums, but talking to my sponsor about those personal feelings in that area instead. Not making regular meetings battlegrounds, but making them recovery meetings. Talking about other issues like this in forums like this where they are meant to be. Talking about issues in‑group conscience where they are meant to be. Making that there attractive for the newcomer to walk through the door instead, and make service attractive. Do not do service with a sad sack on your face. Do not do it like you are doing time, we are not in prison. Learn about the steps first, there was some talk about where we changed the 12th Step, understand that from “those” to ‘these”, understand that real well. I did not understand that when it happened because I thought words to until I got a dictionary. Those are past and these are present, those are the previous eleven and a half steps. These are the 12 Traditions that bind us, that hold us together. I did not understand that, because I was a person that had to get a dictionary because I was a person that did not understand the English language. I had to admit to that that was a character defect of mine that did not want to admit that I did not have knowledge. See if I did not have knowledge I thought I was stupid, so I had to do an inventory and realize I am not stupid, I need knowledge and I got a dictionary and started studying the English language. So what is the solution? If there is a problem, I am part of the problem. If there is a solution, I need to be part of the solution. What do I emphasize thought, am I going to make it look like doomsday, and all panic and go out and hang ourselves up, or can I say yes this exists over here just like we do in inventory, and that is what we do in inventories of groups. We have not learned how to do inventories in groups yet that I know of. We are just starting to write an inventory up in our area. We had no real inventory. We had some pieces of tradition inventory that we passed around, I think you remember that Bo. Whatever how many questions on the steps and how many questions on the traditions, you know but there is a basic form of an inventory that we utilize, but an actual form of what do we do, how do we take an inventory of a group. We got an inventory guide, how to take one for ourselves but what about a group, that is where it starts. Inventories that have been taken on a group level, how do we intermix together? That is where it starts. Am I willing to do the writing if I want it? Am I willing to do the participation, am I willing to do what it takes. See there are two different types of service, one is a participant service (you heard the word, one is getting involved) or one is let them do it for you and bitch. (Laughter) I mean that is the choice we have to make. Go to the home group and if they want you, if that is what they want. If you are sent here to get information, there is some information to take back.

 

I can tell you I had a conversation with Stu Tordman, our BOD chair and he said it was all right for our home group to print literature in our group, as long as we are not going in competition with this WSO corporate. I just had that conversation and he said that it was all right as long as you were not going to go and have it printed up for a cent and sell it for three cents when we are selling it for thirteen, to undercut us. He said if you are doing it for your home group, you have that right, autonomously for your home group. We do not have all that information. You have to make decisions sometimes like you are being shown this book. You need all the information if you are going to make that decision. I am not going to tell to make that in a home group decision until they collect all that information and they can make that decision within here first. I am in a home group that made that decision, it was a decision on collected information, it was a unanimous vote, and I will back the home group on whatever we do. As long as we are collecting information and following and seeking information, I mean that is what I do, that is what I have been taught. If you do not want skeletons in the closet then do not put them there, be above board and open. I mean the major problem it seems that we have in our history and our literature is we have skeletons all have the place and nobody wants to get them out. So what are we to get those skeletons out? One thing is try to get changes in where we don’t have a structure that has service that has service where people are stuck there for ten or fifteen years. Get a revolving door, get and work towards a service center, not a service office. Service center implies something totally different from office. We do not realize that the tradition talks about a service center. A place to provide service from for us, stuff that we cannot do alone but combined we can do together. That is what a service center is and that is what we need is a service center for that purpose. Do we need, and I am looking at it real questionable. Do we need a bunch of warehouses or do we need somebody negotiating with printing companies for us and getting us the price and letting the regions and areas purchase directly from those printing companies that are listed for the price instead. That would sure cut down on having to have five or six buildings in Van Nuys or having to look to purchase property. It could decentralize and bring it back down as close to the groups as the Tree was wrote for. Bring it back to the groups as close as possible. That is what I was brought into, that is a solution to seek those goals. That stuff you can carry back, ideas and concepts, I can tell you that the concepts or the principles, what eve they are calling it is what helped bring about this little book right now. The concept of if you do not like what we are doing stop the money. Oh well I am sorry, the only way you can stop the money is to stop buying literature. If you do not buy literature then we do not have literature, so what are you going to do, we have to print. You can stop all the money from going fund flow, the conference is already telling you they are complaining about not getting enough from that. However, the major money the basket money is not going through the fund flow system but is going directly from the group to the WSO in money for literature.

 

Look at you budgets; my home group just purchased $108.00 dollars worth of literature and gave the area $108.00 dollars this month. Another group though bought a hundred and some worth of literature and gave the area five something. If you look at the budget for our area this month you would see that we bought 60% literature and 40% of our money went into the service structure to provide our services here.

 

That tells me we have a problem, the problem is that and I am going to talk personally about another fellowship. Alcoholics Anonymous sells a Big Book to OA and OA buys it for $3.50. What is the difference, why do we have to pay $8.00 for a book? These questions need to be asked. I am tired of those things like that. I think that a lower cost book and putting more money into the fund flow and I think it would bring in line because then they would reverse the money going directly through literature to the WSO that profit wise the money would flow through the service structure. Where then the service center would have to become dependent on the conference to have to subsidize it instead. They would reverse that there, the process. It is called to reverse of process, but we need to seek a lower cost piece of literature. We need to seek getting the world fellowship where they have different languages to take them and tell them, take this literature and put it into your languages, you know best. There is, I mean English is basically a well‑known language around the world. Many of your countries have to learn English. So there are some people in those countries that speak their own language plus English that could sit down and translate that book, without having to pay that big cost. I am not worried about dialect we have dialect in English. I mean I cannot understand some people from Mississippi, I cannot understand some people from England or Ireland. I will listen to them and they cannot understand me, so the dialect I do not think is that much of a problem. Let them put it in their language and get those good feelings that are a solution to me. Let them get those feelings of involvements instead. Not seeking for the Grand Gumba to say, hey, we will take care of you, do what we want, that is gangster style, just behave buddy, you know what I mean I will bust your kneecaps. I mean let us get for real.

 

Reverse our decision making process of our conventions. Our conventions are they are profiteering off Narcotics Anonymous. How much are your conventions making in your regions that some of you have come from. I mean I look at it; we will stamp NA on anything. I mean the most disgusting thing I saw one time was coming out of a city one time with NA nuts and bolts on girls under wears. Little skimpy ones, stamping NA on them, are profiteering. We spend how much energy in making money in them other ways? How much money is being ciphered off in those other ways? I mean you hear the rumors, you know the facts. I can tell you at the seventh east coast I know there was ten thousand dollars walked off with never accounted for. I can tell you that last years east coast walked off with some where around like twenty‑five thousand, thirty or thirty‑five thousand. I can tell you right now that the east coast this year has not paid some of their bills. I know one person that they fourteen grand to and did not pay them and the people are just walking around lobbying their heads acting like they don’t know what is going on. Money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose. What is our primary purpose that is a grass root effort we need to carry back? Grass root, that is our history what has built us to the point, was grass root effort, primary purpose and carrying the message.

 

 

 

 

Doing service not because I want to be somebody but because I wanted the next person that did not have it to have what I was given freely. When I walked in to the second east coast convention of Narcotics Anonymous, strapped down still in leather, hair down to my waist, by then I was 129 pounds at a year and a half clean. I had gained about 10 pounds but what happened there was a miracle I was introduced to what I call Narcotics Anonymous. That is when the man gave me the Grey Book and the fourth step inventory guide and that is when he gave me a spiritual connection and a communication network. Everything is missing today, that is the NA I know and the NA I want. That is the NA you hear being talked in history that is the NA you hear about Jimmy Kinnons phone ringing off the hook. That is the NA History you hear as Bo shared when he ran around the country from literature conference to literature conference when he talks about the history of the Basic Text of going to World convention wanting to know. That NA enthusiasm took those people from Georgia, which were barefoot, and everything at the World Service Conference to make a difference. There are solutions, there are solutions to setting up, you can create, dissolve and recreate and those are things we have to look at. What is going to work best for us? If it is setting up a service structure that is going to work for us then we need to start doing it. I have suggestions and have been going back to the NA Tree and looking at what worked there and start working from there, not this guide to service. I mean I just do not want to go through it, but something that was simple was the NA Tree. Start looking at what did work and look what needs to be expanded for worldwide fellowship today from that and keep it simple. That stuff we can start working on. We can take it to our home group and we can start getting copies of the old Tree somewhere. If anybody got it, get it copy it give it to them and start looking it over, inventorying it and getting a communication network finding groups that are willing to go through it together and supporting each other as a network. If your friend calls you up and says and why we had Anonymi at one time, a worldwide home group for those that was isolated because of their service. I carry a card today yet, I feel that way at times. Because you have a belief, follow the belief. Do not stop before the miracle happens, but follow it, that is a solution. Find the people, I do not believe in the old saying that if someone tells you that you are a horse, that you are a horse. I argue, you do not have to think about it and go to the second person and they say you are a horse you had better start believing and the third person. I do not believe in it, I can find three stupid fools to tell me I am a horse. (Laughter). I tell you I can find enough negative people to tell me it do not work this way, we went through that too many years. What was Narcotics Anonymous founded on? It was founded and went against the grain, and was told that it would not work and I can tell you those eleven years ago when we formed here and left Alcoholics Anonymous where I came from they said it would not work this way either. I was told the same thing that they were told in 1953, or any other time they started anywhere else. I was told make a commitment and I found those people that became my network. People like Bo; people like Greg people like Jimmy became my network, Joe Procter from Tennessee. They became my network of people to call on a regular basis and get support from, to know that NA worked.

 

They are the people who me I could write. Joe told me so many times, you could write Bill, you can write. I use to look at him and tell him you are nuts, you are crazy I never even got through the ninth grade. I failed spelling, I got straight A’s in English from Kindergarten on, and they just pushed me through. I got a B+ in college English today. I went from 9th grade drop out to freshman in college in the last year, only because you told me it would work. You got me to believe in myself and that is what we need to do is help each other to believe in ourselves and when someone is beating on one of our brothers and telling him it doesn’t work we need to support that brother or sister and help carry that message to them. That has to happen in a worldwide network. You can find too many people who tell us we cannot write literature anymore. They are going to tell us it is going to work best in a service center, or an office, or whatever, the fewer it works. I can tell you that I went on the World PI Committee when e was pen and I can tell you that the World PI Committee produces nothing today, it is in the service office, and World PI does nothing itself. I can tell you I wrote the guidelines for World PI, the PI Committee accepted them and then the chairperson turned around and had someone make a motion not to send them to the fellowship. Then the committee wrote it not to send them out and why, because they could amend them as they went along. They took real strict guidelines and made them into real wax guidelines to do whatever they want when they want. They will tell you that, just let me do what I know how to do best, I am a PI man, you don’t know what it takes to do PI, but I do I am a specialist, just let me go but didn’t you teach me not to listen to my own mind. Didn’t you teach me to call up my sponsor before I think and get caught up in my own thoughts? I mean because my thoughts brought me here. Didn’t you teach me to protect myself from myself and not allow my ego to get out of line? It is not about not trusting me; it is about not trusting my disease and putting some blockades up for my disease. Therefore, my disease does not take off where I cannot see where the shutters are up. That is what it is about and that is why I need protection from myself. The greatest thing the Mid‑Atlantic Region did for me was not allow me to have a vote of confidence on the WSC floor. The greatest thing that we can do is say hey we do not want anything amended, where are we going. Are we trying to get something done in our lifetime? Is anything going to come up that drastic really, or is it that I need my name attached to it. Do I need to boost my name, be some honcho? Take , put the roadblocks up so that the disease does not destroy our trusted servants. When you vote in the GSR, make sure it is the GSR for the job. Make sure it is the person that can do the job for you, not because they are your friend or because they look good or because you want to go to bed with her. You know I saw plenty of trusted servants come onto PI because somebody wanted to go to bed with them, pretty girls. So we need to learn to treat each other with respect, dignity compassion, carina what it meant “care”. We need to learn to do that and how we do that is live the principles. How we do that is to take the message back and ask your groups to do these types of workshops and invite the people in to bring the information in. Start writing, communicating and working and if it is not working in the service structure we created and we cannot change the arena, dissolve it and recreate.

 

That is the message I have, that is the only that I have today. I am not going back to WSC. People did not understand that when I said when the fellowship does not want me they will send me home and I go home to the home group where I belong. I have a home group. It is not about being a world‑trusted servant. It is about being a member. It is about participating and carrying the message, sponsoring people. They cant take the home group from me, but we can do a lot from there. That is the foundation of everything, that is a solution for me. I am willing to help and set up networks. I know that Bo knows how to do it, and it is time we start talking, getting addresses , phone numbers, communicating and finding out what each other is doing. I don’t know if we have gone that far where it is more important to go out to a dance, or more important to hang out in discos or in the pool hall, or if you have had that spiritual awakening where you understand what we are here for. It has to be the living spirit, that is to become the spirit of NA. That is the solution, be that living spirit, do not falter because someone offers you something. If the gut is telling you it is wrong follow the gut. I do not care how many people are patting you on the back, follow the stomach, because that is usually our best barometer. I know it is mine, I know when I make a bad decision, I cant look at myself in the mirror, and I get this acid build up in my stomach. I mean I almost devoured my stomach when I was two years clean, but it happens when I am doing what I am not suppose to be doing. That is what I have. That is the solutions for me, so thank you for allowing me to come up and share. (Applause)

 

 

 

 

 

Transcriptions Allentown tape 7

 

Tape 7

Allentown History Addathon 1990

Problems / Solutions

Speaker: Robin, Bill, Bo

 

I am an addict, my name is Robin. Hi Robin. I do not know the only thing that I keep thinking of that keeps coming to mind and Billy said it, is money, property and prestige. You know when I got involved in World Service I can remember getting a postcard from somebody that said I tried to call you and the line was temporarily disconnected, welcome to World Services. That is really what it was about you know World Service when I got involved was hard work and a lot of money out of pocket but the rewards were great. Today it is almost like join World Services see the world. (Laughter). I really have a problem with that when we take good hard look at what we are doing. I can remember when I got involved it was with the NA Way, you know and a lot of people were jumping out and saying talk about the history of the Way. What we were doing and what we were about at that time was providing some more stuff to read. It was taking more input from the fellowship and letting addicts read what recovery was about in other addict’s lives. That what the magazine and the purpose of the magazine was and I got involved with it in the first year of its run and became of it in the second year, well I became co‑chair. All that bullshit was so much bullshit and was so tiring but anyway it was a lot of work. It was a fellowship voluntary production. I remember going to the conference after it was all over, after the year that I served was over. I remember being accused of wrongly spending money and it was bizarre. I do not remember how much over budget, I think there was like $1035.00 that we spent of the fellowships money and I was accused. I felt like I was being attacked verbally and we got twelve issues of the magazine out in a reasonable amount of time and that year at the conference the magazine was taken out of the fellowships hands and put into the WSO hands. An editor was hired for about $28.000.00 dollars. I could not see the logic in that and I still fail to see the logic in that, in that whole process. That is why money, property and prestige, that is why I say that appears to be the root. That appears to be where we seem to falter. Going back to when Billy was talking about reverse the process, let the WSO be dependent on the fellowship for it’s’ survival instead of the opposite way around. The WSO was not meant to be and I do not believe it was ever meant to be the governing quote arm of the fellowship. I do not believe that was its’ purpose. I took myself out of World Services and went back to the level that would not give me stress and would not give me that type of pain I guess. I started to get re‑involved in my home group and re‑involved in staying clean and the addicts who still suffer. Like a few other people had said I think that when we get, when money, property and prestige blinds us we forget about our primary purpose. You know I was sitting there and I ask Bo how much money was spent on the writing of the Basic Text. He said somewhere around $50.000.00 he thinks and it took a process of about five years, okay so for three years it took a total of around fifty‑thousand close to it, and we had something in hand. I have been watching the service structure for the last seven years spending millions of dollars with nothing in hand with nothing in hand, and I wonder where we are going. I wonder what we have come to, and like everybody else, I believe that we need to go back to a grass root.

 

 

 

When I took a position on world level with a lot of other people in this room the position was not one of glorification. I like most people spent hours and hours and hours alone working. My free time was not free time. My free time was given to the fellowship Narcotics Anonymous. Today I do not believe that taking a WSC or any otherworld level position is that type of a position. I think mostly it is a glorification and very little of either. It is sad I watch it and I don’t know, I guess I backed out because I didn’t know what to do and I felt that there was nothing more that I could do. I do not believe in the process as it stands today and I have not believed in it since I have seen it going in this direction for the last six years you know when I got out. That is all I have. (Applause) Thank you.

 

Speaker: Bill

 

I am an addict and I am Bill. First of all, I need to make amends to you all and Dave because I shouted out something from the floor when he had it standing up here and for me that is inappropriate. What I have heard tonight isn’t anything to different than I have heard before and have seen for the amount of time I have been around here, and that isn’t really long. I have learned a lot through last night and today. Some additional information that gives me some tools that helps me sees things a little clearer. You know I have thought about this problem and thought about this and I saw it happening even with the three conference agenda reports. Back I saw this what was happening to the fellowship through the service structure, because I am one of those persons that believes that the nature or the type of message in the room is reflected from the kind of service structure that we have. Accountability is worthless without, responsibility is worthless accountability to us the fellowship. So you know I have seen this and I wondered like are we a dieing breed, are we freaks you know. I know everybody that is here understands that you have to be in recovery having to work the steps and live the principles and we also understand that there are spiritual rewards in self‑sacrifice and that is part of what service is about for me. Like what are we going to do and I see a lot of people with time that have you know put some effort forth and had some kind of position in their group or at an area level or something and they have like 4 years or 8 years. And they go off and they are living this life and got all these things in life that are available to us when we do the next right thing. It does not matter what happens in the service structure, it just does not matter. Part of recovery is that it gives us the ability to participate in life, have, and do these things. So what is right and where is the balance, I believe that we do have to stand for something or we will fall for anything. I find myself having been a liberal being out there with my disease and it is sort of ironic now I find myself a conservative in the little interpretations of our Traditions. That is not necessarily today a very popular view you know and I see it in the rooms when people just come to get what they can get and they go out and do what they go out and do what they can in life with what they take from the rooms and they are not too interested in giving. What is the answer, what is the answer for us? What are we suppose to do? Well I can continue to beat my head against the wall, and I can continue to battle that and I do not really want to live that way.

 

Or I could just like surrender. One way of surrender would be just like give up, okay I am beat, we might be right but I cannot do a damn thing about it. You know that is not what I am made of. I do not like that feeling inside of me when I am in confrontation of those that I care about and are suppose to care about me. However, what I have come to believe is that you know what we believe and we all here have in common besides addiction I believe is the spiritual principles that have been given to us. Through some effort and what is happening in my region at home is to form an Ad Hoc Committee to investigate starting a separate service conference. That is something, see everything I believe that all this that exists in NA in our service structure rather, cannot get them mixed up because a lot of people think that service is Narcotics Anonymous, and it is not. The only thing that is NA for me is a meeting okay and the service structure is an outside issue. A lot of people, now I have lost track.

 

I believe that I need to be true to my beliefs and that does not mean giving up so damn easy you know. It will always have to do with education because just as I carry what I was given what we give will be carried. So like that is real important to perpetuate that kind of education and that type of morality and values that comes from practicing those principles in our affairs. But that alone will not do it because we are in the minority so what are we going to do you know, we cannot blow these people away. Did God mean for there to be a place for people who cannot let go in the service structure. I do not have that answer but I do believe that there is a place for us. But before I give up before I let go and be one of those like one of those old farts in an AA meeting sitting in the back with a group of old fogies making cracks about somebody who uses some kind of new language. I am going to put my efforts in trying to educate those that will listen about what is suppose to be and what can be and to talk about the motion that is going back to my groups, to our groups and our regions. Nothing is impossible, if it is meant to be if y’all go back to your groups and make some kind of a motion that pertains to a separate service conference or something that will allow us to have a service structure, as we believe it should be and is meant to be it will happen. But if it is meant to be and we do not put forth that effort out of fear not being popular it will never come to be. Not everything for me in life that happens or exists is Gods’ will. The truth does stand on its own for those who choose to recognize it. So I am tired so I am going to stop talking. (Applause) Thank you.

 

Speaker: Bo

 

My name is Bo and I ‘m an addict. Hi Bo. You know the workshop today has stirred some ideas and stuff. There are a couple of sort of obvious choices, like one thing that Grateful cited me on the letters that I read. The thing that stood out on my first brief glance was that like one of them says, we are the office and we hold the copyrights in trust. Then the letter from the lawyers says, “Stop doing this shit right now or we will blow you away” and I really think that is sad for World Services to take two positions on the same issues in the same time frame. First of all because it makes them look ridiculous and then to offer offense to the most wonderful thing that we have to offer which is active involved members through those letters. It is just I guess more than anything a measure of just how insane it has gotten in world to day to even pull something like that and to not see how stupid it is and embarrassing. Because I mean neither letter reflects any spiritual sincerity, like the attitude of the servant. Like if you were some kind of flagrantly rich individual and you had gentle loving English butlers who says ”but sir if I carry out your orders you know that bomb will really go off and we will both be dead” I mean there is just not any service in there. You know with our people we are like gypsies I always figured if you yell at us and treat us like fools and idiots, and then unfortunately we are use to handling that kind of crap. If you treat us real nice with dignity and love and respect hell, you got us by our heartstrings and we will follow you anywhere.

 

(Flip tape) food for thought and I am not going to try to promote them or read each one and then like oratise on each one. I will just try to read them sort of quickly. Take this tongue and cheek but I call this “Path of Personal Responsibility”.

One is we can create a new resource for Narcotics Anonymous just by changing our minds. One of the tricks that Joseph and I made up because we were really world level servants and we really did get a lot of opportunities to serve and often during those years 79, 80, 81 there would be potentially difficult problems just getting started but we would know about them. They would be kind of isolated in just one area or region and our tactic was to include not exclude. So we would take radicals in instead of run them off. Of course, sometimes that would work to our embarrassment but never the less we were loving and just take the package deal right. We would come up with non‑directive self‑replicating solutions to some of the problems that by definitions on a single hearing somebody would go “Ah hah” and then could repeat it endlessly forever. It did not, it was not important where it came from, I mean like nobody knew we did it right. I guess the ones that didn’t pan out just got repeated once or twice and then died out and then the good ones just sort of like went on and we didn’t have that kind of problem in that time frame. So maybe this kind of stuff will be kind of like that, like non‑directive, self‑replicating solutions for current problems. So we can create a new resource by just changing your mind, changing your life we can create a whole bunch of esteemed old timers. We have enough members with long clean time who at a flip of a switch could become esteemed old timers who can kind of act out that role. I had a guy I sponsor visit me the other week and he was bitching about people putting him on a pedestal, this, and that and expecting a lot out of him. So finally he had brought it up about fifteen times so I could just sort of tell that he was having trouble dealing with it. I said well have you ever thought that they are asking you to do for them what was done for you. I mean you are there old man, I know you think you are a kid but you are not. (Laughter) Plus what you would be doing there would be giving, now sure you would have to show a little more dignity and restraint and clean up your act a little bit, but you can afford it you’ve had your kicks. Besides, it is not like martyrdom or something. Therefore, I at least have the impression that he will at least think about it, he definitely did not say no that is a good sign. I was smart enough to just say it and leave it, move on to the next item.

 

A lot of people you know or you can become an esteemed old timer just by thinking well that might be curious. You can become an esteemed old timer for even a couple of years and then go back to whatever without relapsing if you like. It is easy and we do have a lot of people with the time now. Another thing if you wanted to try that or even if you did not is you could contact old timers and express your gratitude. We have got a lot of really sad cases where people work their butts off and their stuck up in their job or relationships and dadada and they think they’re alone and they don’t come to things like this anymore and they are not shown appreciation. I wrote Chuck Skinner just a nice letter you know and didn’t bring up any issues, and just told him I loved him and I was grateful and I respected him and how you doing right after the health. You know they are a little older and he told me about their recent ( ) adventures and at the end of the letter told me that the spirit just not as strong in me or something like that. I felt like he was coming clean about some thing. So I will probably write him again after awhile. I am not going to damn heavy it up to much. I really do, you know he has helped a lot. Everybody can do that because you all got your own little set of esteemed old timers, right somewhere. That helped you that loved you and took a little time with you. They probably not perfect you know they might be if they are still clean and feeling a little isolated you know you might brighten their day or something. I mean it is not exactly, they do not have to be senior citizens I mean (laughter)

 

Okay another thing and this is where my path approach and responsibility gets a little heavy and political. Stay tuned in to, just do that become esteemed old‑timer show a little gratitude periodically to the old timers, which in turn will help you accept gratitude from others when being an old timer. Elected position or no just stay tune into the conscience of your home group at the group level. Write down what their feeling are, their aspirations are. In other words what they would like to see, not so much you but them. If you are not holding elective service position, not going to area region all the time just go out of your way and find out whom you are current ASR and RSR is and just call them and go see them. You have got every right to do that. If you are staying in touch with your groups level and enough people do that you are going to be factoring in a different sort of information than they might get just sort of flooding out from world who has the printing press right now. We use to have the printing press at the group level. While world is entitled and that is one way of interpreting what we are looking at right now. Let’s just say that it is sort of entangled it is caught up in itself, not functioning to well, lot of problems and stuff. Just formulate regional initiatives; just get your region, another region. Get two or three regions, work out some thing cool to work on, history work, and work on something for policy, PI, or whatever. It can be a real goal or almost a humorous goal. Really in the current time frame and humorous might be fun, and submit it deadpan. Our region worked very hard and came up with this. I mean that would be an interesting repartee to some of these delicious letters and stuff. It would not take long to work up, like you did what, but just do it. Like I said earlier, we have got a lot more capacity today and you could bring together all the existing materials on PI and like examine basic questions. Like I had Bill going into at the World Convention in DC a few years ago.

 

 

How many libraries are there in PA and how many of those libraries have NA Basic Text in them? How could we get Basic Text in all of them? Or just whatever, how many jails have got H&I meetings and how could we gets more; those are the real goals I think. If we had goals like that in World Services, we would not have any time for these bullshit problems. Anyway, while the world is entangled just opt for regional initiatives. If world settles down then go back to world and keep a few regional initiatives. Some people say that is structurally legal, but that ain’t so. Invite those who have positive experience in service as if every area in the fellowship has got people who are not commonly known who worked very hard on the Basic Text. Or may have their story in the book or they may have done some other good work some time some place and they would make excellent speakers. Right now, I will guarantee you who get in to the big conventions speaking positions. It is a buddy system, and they ask for the tapes and all that and then they put the buddies in. They may even listen to the tapes but they still put the buddies in you know. I think a lot of times that happens. I mean see if I say I have not heard any good speakers that would be judgmental so instead I will say I have not shed a tear at a convention lately. I can remember sharing a tear at every convention; I would just be transfixed with something like a new idea or whatever. Personally, just by yourself pick out an objective that would help build NA and could make a commitment to it. As long as the fellowship says it wants it you know if the fellowship says, hey we do not care about that anymore, then you could drop it you aren’t stuck. As long as you got some members like at group level yeah that would be nice that would be neat just work on it. It could be something small; it does not have to be big. Small things, a bunch of small things add up to be big good things. It could be a private thing, I mean it may even be anonymous, nobody else may even know you are working on it, how about that for underground service in recovery.

 

Personally as an esteemed old timer, you can help keep the NA promise of recovery alive. That way as an esteemed old timer, it would no longer be your duty I mean we have got a heavy radical section. I mean like you could be on the sidelines kind of helping them not completely come unglued you know. Grateful will call me up sometimes and I can tell on the other end of the phone his head is turning like a helicopter and I am worried it is going to spin right on off. Then we will be talking, you know we have known each other long enough, and he kind of like calms down and well this, well that. I still say that Grateful has got a terrifically impressive track record at being right in advance. I think and I have thought this for some time that the only cure in the ongoing sense and is not a resource that we did not have in 1965, 75 or even 85. Just to have an on growing group of old timers who are committed to Narcotics Anonymous growth and continuance who hold no elective position at any level. To have their own files and maintain them and do their own studies, and keep track of who is being elected and what is happening. Are the people happy, if people aint happy and you got clean time, you are committed, and showing up for stuff like this then it is on you? You can either use the powers and gifts God has given you to work towards solutions or you can just stay on the sideline and say ,”well aint it sad about poor ole NA, oh it was just so sad, it caved in”. Well it aint going to cave in but if you want to be apart of it just get you another way of thinking and slide into it, like you slid into a new belief of God, you slid into surrender, your slid into turning your life and your will over.

 

Another thing that I heard today and this particularly concerns me because I can remember in the old days and I was spoiled so I am going to praise my original World Service experience. I was loved, I was talked to with respect, I was given the truth you know and I mean I was tested and you know how we are tested. There were no dirty jokes in world services; there was no ridicule of spiritual principles or people. I can remember two or three or four years ago at in conference that stood out in particular like the nominees had to get up to the microphone and along with their clean time and service experience they started citing where they worked and how much money they make. I know I have been coming out here four or five years what is this shit, what is that for you know like everyone was doing this one after another. I am so in so I have been clean so long I have served in this region that way; I make thirty‑ two thousand dollars a year. Where did that come from?

 

I also remember that every time at some point during the week the conference chair would authorize a negative sanction against a member of Narcotics Anonymous there in service. A negative sanction is where a group moves to embarrass somebody, or ridicule them or call them on the carpet. They never did that in the old days. They did Dave one year, and then the next guy from Chesapeake‑Potomac because he was dumb and he had left the damn $5000.00 check on the bureau, made it to the airport, and did not have time to go back. He came in, went straight to the conference treasurer, and says hey I am a dummy and left the check back there but I will send it to you. It has not been lost and you can count on five grand from the C&P. Well I mean four days later all that going to the conference chair and the treasurer and tell them what’s going on and being assured well okay thank you for telling us and it is ok. Well man by Thursday of Friday it was like(wailing)”You know he didn’t bring the check” and like this girl quivering you know the alternate first time at the WSC. I was trustee and hit that microphone and said,”What is this doing on the floor Mr. Chair, you know we don’t do stuff like that here”? I was wrong, they went ahead and done it persecuted the shit out of this guy, hell you would have thought he was a damn mugger or bank robber you know killed children, raped fathers I mean, you know. He made a mistake and copped to it straight up. Anyway, my sponsor and I took him out and we ate ribs and laughed about it. He said in other words, I guess the conference needed a scapegoat, I said I do not know if they needed one, but they got one, and so we laughed. You cannot groom quality loving service workers that way; it was sort of, like that was just a shift you know. Who said it earlier, we created this shit we can UN‑create it, you know somehow we allowed it to happen. In the old days, we did not have people with long clean time so we could not have a system of informed, involved network to esteemed old timers we can today. In the old days, we did not have any money, property or prestige so we could not have them all concentrated in the office. If you are into structural service and want to work a jigsaw puzzle then figure out how to spread the money, property and prestige around a little bit better where it is less concentrated just in the office and maybe that will give some relief. However, right now it is concentrated so everybody, a certain type of sick addict will suck up out there. And like Max said in the letter. He says, you know, you said Bo that some people are like so being seduced by money, property and prestige. Really, they get on this short tight skirt with a slit up the side before they leave for LA. They know where they are going. We need to just, that was the last thing. Whenever lets say we are going to have a conference this May, just keep track of anybody out there who ridicules spiritual principles who ridicules members especially from the microphone , especially anything that will show in minutes and get them removed, impeach them. Get signatures, we do not like it. NA saved my life, it is spiritual and we are not going to tolerate this. You have to be more careful about wrongdoing, like stealing money and stuff because that can be fabricated, so how do you check your facts out.

 

I am real glad that Bob Stones contract was not renewed. I do not know whether he was you know the best man for the job or not. Personally, I pray that he can come to terms with some of his (powered) sessions. But I am glad he is gone and I think there are a couple more that need to be gone because before that it was almost like these people with OUR millions of dollars. In addition, see we did not want royalties for the Basic Text, we did not want by lines for the Basic Text and we do not want them in the future. I speak for myself and others in this matter. We certainly do not want employees running down service workers or stomping on, what they regard as little guys. Because to us, people like me they ain’t no little guys. Everybody is important and they should not be allowed to get away with that. You know I was talking to Forest earlier I said the fellowship has grown a lot but it has just got to mature like my kids getting bigger in his body and I hope he can get bigger in his mind at the same time. It is almost like try the next time you drive your car somewhere just like shut your eyes plug up your ears and see what happens. If you are not actively, if enough people are not actively engages in running world then world is going to do what it wants to just like that car and it is not the cars fault. If it is not told anything to do then it will start making up stuff or it will just keep going where it was going. The car cannot perceive the curve in the road. You know the same with world. Well I guess I have read my list and I will just shut up. This has been a real good mature workshop, we have covered a lot of ground, and I have not felt like anybody was prevented from sharing openly and honestly, whatever came to them. I hope this is setting like a new custom, because we need stuff like this. It freshens the air and takes the pressure off and then people are not running around that they heard there is trouble and they are scared you know. It kills the fear gets things out in the open it increases the faith and people relax and get common sense back. I am really glad you had it and thank y’all for having some of us in and I hope we can do it again too. Because y’all are real important to my life and me. I mean Dave, Bill, Bill, and the rest of you. When I first got clean and first got involved it was as if I rather hated to really get to know you well in a convention and then the disease side of me assumed I would never see you again in this lifetime. Then through service and recovery, oh man you get to know an incredible number of people. You might see them two or three times, you might know there face and name along time before you ever get to talk to them before you get to talk to them for along time. But I feel like I want to have a long talk with Carl and Yeshua(right). I figured out it was like yes sir so you know somewhat different so. My wife’s sponsor is up in Michigan right now and you are from Michigan we will see each other again and between now and then we can look forward to it. Thank you.

 

 

Tape 7

Allentown History Addathon 1990

Problems / Solutions

Speaker: Carl

 

I am an addict, my name is Carl. Hi Carl. One of the things that really attracted me to drive the seventeen hundred miles that it will take us to get here and back was solutions. I do not know how many, how many of you have been involved in work shopping a piece of literature in this fellowship. That is quite a few. I bet if I had asked earlier that it would have been a minority. So you got an idea and the warm and fuzzy at doing that and that inclusion you felt and being apart of and being heard and somebody actually understanding that you had some value in your life and that you got something to give away instead of continue to take.

 

A little of my background was looking for recovery in 68’ and finding out since I was a convicted felon find out there was not any for me. Then finding it somewhere else in 72’ and taking another 14 years almost to find out I belonged here. It was that hunger and thirst to find out why I had not found it because I felt good here I felt at home here. As I got more involved and did more things and tried to use the strengths that were given so freely to me I started seeing old timers feeling hurt and put off and set aside. When I went to conferences and quarterly workshops, saw the skirts, saw the chasing, and wondered where their spiritual principles were and if the was the epitome of service, if that was the height of service is that was where you could serve the best and do the most I did not want anything to do with it. That scared me a lot but I had those resources, I met those people, went to those places, and looked for that good old boy sitting back in the back of the meeting nodding his head and smiling. You can tell the serene ones around here and you can tell usually the service junkies have tired eyes and he is smiling when he identifies with what somebody else has to share. Our literature process is threatened. NA History something we are doing here is a ( ) item not to long ago. As a regional literature chair, I requested it and was told that it is in the office and the office was going to compile it. I was pissed and then I asked for all of the items that are available for development in this fellowship and was told we could not have them. How am I suppose to identify with the diversity in my region what they want to work on if I do not have the material to produce to give to them to understand what the might want to work on. I am in a new area, I mean this is backwoods, I mean a group conscience where I am living is 3 to 7 people in our area in any particular group. That is about what it was like when I came into the fellowship. Yeah with some learning experiences and finding solutions, this is the third area I have helped begin and helped grow. I told them third time is a charm does not isolate me because I learn from these old timers that is what happens. So when we just started to talk about it I said do not isolate me here is the service material read it, understand what you are talking about, information. Something we do not have much of in Narcotics Anonymous, we do not have a communication tool in this fellowship. We have a news line and it goes everywhere. Who writes it, what goes in it. If you read it long, enough you would know. (Laughter) Depends on how long it takes to set in.

 

Then we begin to dialogue a little bit in St. Louis. There were seventeen regional literature chairs in St Louis for the quarterly. The first hour and a half of dialogue with those regional chairs was a bitch session and I did not come 800 miles to do this. I have heard enough bitching where are the solutions. What are we going to do; we need some sort of tool of communication in this fellowship. Bill mentioned it I think a networking. I think a pyramidal sort of structure, I will call you, you call two people, those two people call two people and before long, you have the ability to communicate broadly in this fellowship. I think we need to identify those people who can write. I can remember just a few years ago when it was just enthusiasm and now I am meeting the people with doctorates and masters in English that has the talent, but I am hearing about their frustrations. You know a committee who took everything away from them for almost 9 months so they did not have anything to do and they want to quit. Seems like it would be simple to identify the people who could write, put a list of twenty topics together and send it out to as broad a distribution as you can get to every group that you can get an address for and ask them to read it in their group business meeting, read it under group announcements. The fellowship would like to have your input on a topic. There are enough people who can determine whether you can write or not, that would not be hard to amass. We need those communication tools you know we are talking about assembling a history. Right, wrong, indifferent for approve you. Take a look‑see what it looks like, see what you believe, you do not like it, check it out. If it irritates your ass and you know that it is different tell us more. I think we could do that in on a communication tool. However, we need to identify of where people stand. There is so much diversity, and so many different viewpoints and I firmly believe that none of the people that do the things we think are wrong do it intentionally. Lack of knowledge, lack of willingness and surrender is probably the two basics. The willingness to surrender comes hard for me, I want to keep fighting. That is probably why I stay in service. That is probably why in being a couple hundred miles away from my regional meeting I am still involved when I cannot afford it anymore.

 

Nevertheless, we need those solutions. We need to find those people who can write we need those communication tools and we need to quit bad mouthing service. We alienate a lot of old timers, I saw us getting stuck and wrapped up and when December showed up with the new proposed service guide I wonder why I want to stay around here fifteen years and be put off. It scared the shit out of me, and talking with those old timers it still scares the shit out of them. I met many old timers in another place at another time and they told me I did not have to change, I only had to stop. It did not do me a fucking bit of good. Today I have to change, I have to be adaptable, I have to learn, I have to communicate, I have to have the honesty, open‑mindedness and willingness we talk about and I have to have service. They told me that is how it works and what can I do? It is mentioned probably ten different times because that is what they did to get recovery in Narcotics Anonymous. It is not mentioned in any other 12 Step programs that I know of. That is what works here and that is what works for addicts. I have begged people for service and I have corralled them into service, thrown them in the car, and taken them to service (Laughter) and it only works on that one on one. This whole program is about feelings to me man. I did not feel before I got here, and for something as powerful as this that reaches someone as stupid and as stubborn as I was and still am it has to come back to the primary purpose. What the hell are we here for; there were people here for me that gave me a chance to feel again. To feel okay about who I am and what I do and what I am like and what I think. Because they believe of the importance of carrying the message to the addict who still suffers. Not that it had to be hip slick and glossy, not that it had to keep from alienating treatment professionals so that we could more literature. None of that stuff mattered then, but here we are at a point where we are talking about adapting a system and the justification was to take a structure from another place that was to go from a dictatorship to a democracy and their justification is that this will take us from ( ) democracy to what, a dictatorship. Does Narcotics Anonymous need a seven million prudent reserve like the one somebody else has in using the Twelve Steps. You are going to have that ability when you get a meditation book and a step book. There will be that kind of money available, it ain’t to far away. But there are a lot subtle rewards available for service in Narcotics Anonymous right now, there are charge cards and they will need office directors in Rio de Janeiro and Frankfurt and Paris, real nice rewards. Who will fill those positions, who will they go to? We have already made some of the mistakes of sending the wrong people to the wrong place. I believe we will come out on the other side just where we are suppose to be right where we are at now. We got here for a reason; we would not have attracted this number of people. We would not have had the quality of people that came to begin to do the dialogue. I remember when we first talked to Billy I said okay who are we going to get. Who is going to be willing to roll over and be honest and let us scratch their belly and let them feel apart of this again. Not many yet, but I think as the interest grows. I do not know what I feel about names in this anonymous program and I ain’t out to get anybody, I am out to get better and to carry a message. What are the solutions it is getting involved and staying involved. The best rewards of this program many times for me have been through my service experiences. Dealing with you addicts has made life in general a piece of cake. I am amazed at how easy it is to deal with the public today. I am in a new town, I have a doctor that would give me anything I want, I have a pharmacist for a friend, and I can trust those friendships today because you gave that to me. Because I had to look in their hearts instead of their pocketbooks and what they have to offer me, you taught me that. Because sometimes you only alienated the shit out of me, but I had to look past that to your principles, sometimes I wonder where the principles go. I always hated principles because they put me in detentions and made me after school. (Laughter) Today it is different, today it is entirely different. Those are principles that I can live by, feel by, and grow by and I do not have to live in that base physical I don’t have to be stuck in that crazy mental shit anymore. I try to maintain a spiritual condition because that sucker is finally awake. How are we going to wake up more, by talking more positively about what we do? Letting people know where we came from, talking about those warm fuzzies. Letting people on the PI Committee know that they are not going to get any big strokes, but they are the basis for getting it out for more people to find. Recognizing that H&I have got a lot of hugs and a lot things to turn around and get out. Thanks, I needed that. There are some real nice fun things there. Policy hah that is going to be fun for the politician in all of us. There is a place for everybody in Narcotics Anonymous, because we have that diversity we have those needs, but for each and every one of us it is finding that so that we feel those warm fuzzy so you learn how to feel good about yourself. So you like who you are, I like being happy, that is new that is fresh everyday, But how because I have to keep it fresh I got to listen at that next meeting. My home group is based on the tenth step and we talk about how you applied the principles of this program, the Twelve Steps in your life in the last week. They get very honest; you do not hear a lot of bitching and moaning. You know just the basics of what we do can be kept so simple. You heard all the little suggestions going back to the home group it is where it is it is Narcotics Anonymous. What you going to do, you going to be a member or are you going to be a taker. You going to learn how to give or are you going to throw it away? There are solutions because the talents are here, calling a spade a spade will work I like your impeachment idea. It is a political structure, letting people know what other people are doing is not decent it is not controversy. Maybe it is just another honest basic attempt at being honest. I got to own my own shit today I do not got to own anybody else’s. If I do not like your shit, I can give it back to you anytime I want. I am confident enough that I have mulled it over; looked at it and surrendered to it here it is it is all yours. Owning mine is a little more difficult, I need those informed people, I need those insightful people, I need those intelligent people, I need those feeling people to feed that back. If it just comes back to being a business here, I am gone. You know we discuss about changing the steps, let’s get God out of here so we can be an international fellowship, wonderful. Some crazy things have come along what is the end result, they are huge. The estimated membership is equal to half of another fellowship and we have done it in less than ten years, something that took them 55 years. With the creation on new materials that is unknown, with our translations that is endless. Where are we going and what are we doing, hell if we know but it feels good and it is working and people are enjoying. But is it about fundraisers, is it about dances or is it about carrying a message. I hope we all realize it is about carrying a message. What is yours that is your own experience strength and hope to share? Hope everybody takes back what they have heard and thought about, come up with, mulled over, digested, throw it up, look over it tomorrow, and do some thing with it. Do not take it home and keep it. That is not what we do here we give it away. Give this away. I will copyright it and sell it. (Laughter). It is fun to ride the emotions in this fellowship, the joy of being apart of, The joy of being able to reach out to the next person you meet and give them something and low and behold just when you need it back, surprise you get it.

 

 

 

 

Transcriptions Allentown tape 8

 

Tape 8

Allentown History Addathon 1990

Problems / Solutions

Speaker: ( ), Lawrence,

 

Unknown Speaker:

I get pissed off at God but I ain’t got pissed off at y’all yet.(Laughter) Sometimes I would think I was worthy, and I just want to say that I want to thank y’all because see I am one of the people that would have died in the last twenty‑seven months if it wasn’t for y’all. I do not know many some people forget about that. I realize that I am in a room full of saints and that is all that has been here, saints and angels, I am not. You know I fart, it stinks. Sometimes I don’t brush my teeth you know sometimes instead of coming to the meeting for the message I look at somebody’s dress tail. I did not do that this time. All I basically want to say is that I understand that when I show up I grow up. The last thing I want to say is the lies have to be covered up, but lies can run around naked. Thank You.

 

Speaker: Lawrence

 

I am an addict, named Lawrence. Hi Lawrence. I do not know, I think this has been real gratifying for me to be apart of. You know it was very informative also. I wish some of the other people that were invited would have come, but that is their loss. In terms of history, the dictionary definition is a collection of events, a collection of recorded events of significance that is it. Something that is not done anymore is that we do not input literature anymore. For me anything that is written is literature whether it be service guidelines you know the first H&I, which was the first project I was privileged to be part of, inputting the little blue book for H&I. I was also part of the early sickness of New York, New York region. You know the reality is that you can get o a meeting in New York and in any given moment, you will not find any literature on the table. This is probably because this has been the fastest growing region in the world and there is a lot of suffering addicts. Since it was made in ’84 the former Board of Directors in New York and essentially what that was going to do was suppose create a better link between toe region and the world. What I experienced was just trying to move over and be nosey and be part of, you know try to just be there and be involved because that is what I was told to do. I felt like I really wasn’t part of and you know I heard a tape of Jimmy K and he says that when individuals tend to dominate the spirit dies and that is what I experienced. I would say there were basically five people who dominated and there was not any spirit. There was a lot of growth and disease and a lot of money. There was a lot of prestige, and that is the reason Terry Ryan, you know Terry Ryan moved away from New York because of the disease. And for the purpose of opening a service office, it was all about prestige. Maybe an opinion, maybe an educated opinion too, that is what I feel. There was such an obsession to build a service structure, incorporate, and have a service office, where there were three lines on the help line. There was one phone; there were two phones, one collating, and one with a collating line and one without a collating line. But the obsession was to open a service office, an RSO. I could not understand that, I just could not understand that and it made me bitter. I really did not have much knowledge but I knew it was not right because it did not feel right. One thing I was always able to do is take an H&I commitment, go to a detox, share the message of recovery, and just hope that some of those people would come to meetings. There were also many things to do; there were just a lot of things to do. I got clean in an institution, and the way I got clean was that someone sent me a White Book. We actually someone sent the counselor the White Book and the counselor gave me the White Book. I wrote a letter and that letter was sent down to New York to the man who was chairing in the H&I committee, that was Terry Ryan. Terry wrote me a letter and sent me some literature. Then some other addicts wrote me and that is why I am here today. I am here today because like we are all here today, because of an intervention. There was an intervention and that intervention was for me to be a member of Narcotics Anonymous and stay alive and to carry whatever it is that I had, as people did for me. It is amazing but if we are trying to get skeletons out of the closet, we may as well right. Bo came up with the idea, he told his sponsee well why don’t one of you guys try to see if one of your home groups will have a literature awareness addathon, or something with literature. We were coming back from a meeting with a member from another home group and they say, yeah yeah I will take it to my home group. Well they did not take it to their home group, but I brought it to my home group and we work‑shopped it and that is history. It ain’t my credit and I ain’t trying to claim credit I am just trying to say it was so and it was good to be there and be a vehicle. We are talking about making a weekend thing out of this and I look forward to that. It is amazing that participation was great even without a dance; you know I mean there was a lot of people here, maybe they thought there were going to be a dance. Maybe someone told them a lie or something. That is the amazing part about it that people were interested.

 

My life basically still very fucked up and I am a whole lot harder on myself than other people are, people tell me. But I guess you know after having a shout out with my sponsor this morning. He reassured me that I was growing and I needed to hear that. The other divine intervention maybe I will become a father and that is scary, it is overwhelming and I have been on an elevator with it. I fell great then oh no, I feel great then oh no. If I was a woman I would have had a half dozen already. I mean I love dogs, I love animals I love kids I love things like that. I don’t know I am not going to let my insecurities kick up because everyone left as soon as I started to share, but those who stayed I guess have some faith in me. You know the fact that the only person I have to rise above is my own, and that is what my personal program of recovery gives me. Just the fact that I could think of something like that, the possibility I could rise above my own personality and be a better person you know that is sort of like a miracle. Your presentation Bo was like right on, I was hoping that maybe you would share some of those spiritual experiences that you shared with Jodi that she shared with me too. I was hoping that maybe you would share them. You did share a lot of history, you know every time I think about the Memphis Conference where people had to go donate blood people bleed so that we could write this book. I know how much that means to you, it is overwhelming, and I am a book baby. If I had known, the Red Book would be an archive I would have kept it. I gave it to a newcomer; just give it away like that. I know wants the disease always wants; it just wants total disunity and wants us to tear each other apart. Sometimes I think if controversy is really good and what kind of controversy is good? I do not think God wants us to live in conflict. I question that you know, myself. So much, stuff that I got out of this workshop. I guess as an addict that I could really see how I could focus in on the problems a whole lot easier than the solutions. But the solutions are really simple just be an involved member, participate in your home group and participate in service. That is being part of the solution and those are things I like to do. I have not slept all night, I did not want miss anything you know so I did not sleep. I will get to late tomorrow, but I did not sleep and I wish I had the day off tomorrow so I could go to the quarterly; I have never been to one, never experienced anything like that. I was going to go to Newark and was living there then. That is something that amazes me why I did not get to Newark I do not know and could have walked to the Holiday Inn and I did not make it. I guess I was not supposed to be there. I think of your idea of how many libraries there are in Pennsylvania you know,( don’t put me on no time limit, you spoke for a thousand minutes , give me that crap I can stand on my two feet here). I mean it is a good idea of how many libraries there are in Pennsylvania send those books, send those free Basic Text to libraries, distribute them to the libraries you know. That will really make them think, Hi Lisa, okay I guess I have to speed it along. Anyway I am just glad to be apart of history and I know everyone else is glad to be part of history. That is it. Thank you for letting me share. (Applause)

 [7.1.04]


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Traditions War: a pathway to peace
2003 Form

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Copyright © December 2001
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All rights reserved. This draft may be copied by members of Narcotics Anonymous for the purpose of writing input for future drafts, enhancing the recovery of NA members and for the general welfare of the Narcotics Anonymous Fellowship as a whole. The use of an individual name is simply a registration requirement of the Library of Congress and not a departure from the spirit or letter of the Pledge, Preface or Introduction of this book. Any reproduction by individuals or organizations outside the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous is prohibited. Any reproduction of this document for personal or corporate monetary gain is prohibited.

Last update January 12, 2006